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Holding Fraternities and Sororities Accountable

by on June 30, 2009

by Lester Spence

Since Alpha Phi Alpha was founded in 1906 the nine major black fraternities (Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Beta Sigma, Iota Phi Theta, Omega Psi Phi) and sororities (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta. Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho) have been trailblazers, at the forefront of the fight against racism and at the forefront of the fight for African American empowerment. But over 100 years after their founding, are these organizations still doing the work that they set out to do?

To the extent that individuals have criticized these organizations from without they’ve attacked their membership practices–more specifically the practice of hazing. Almost all of the "Divine Nine" have had to deal with not only hazing allegations, but hazing related deaths over the past few decades.

But more recently members have severely criticized their organizations for their financial practices.

Most recently a case filed by a member is wending its way through the Nebraska courts alleging that the executive board of Alpha Kappa Alpha gave its International President an illegal stipend in the amount of $250,000, in violation of its Constitution and Bylaws, and without consulting the membership.

The case has not been decided, and the sorority is countersuing the plaintiff. However, this is not the first time in recent years that allegations of financial impropriety have been made against one of the "Divine Nine".

 

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