University of Pittsburgh Sorority Suspended While Police Investigate Alleged Hazing With Paddles

A University of Pittsburgh sorority has been suspended after multiple women—at least one with bruising—reported hazing to police, according to reports.

Twelve women, who are all believed to be Alpha Kappa Alpha pledges, walked into the local Penn Hills Police Department at about 5 p.m. on Monday, Police Chief Howard Burton told Newsweek on Wednesday. The women were reportedly brought to an off-campus home on two occasions, and someone allegedly used paddles to beat them, he added.

BREAKING: Local police say 12 Pitt students walked in to their department to report hazing. Chief confirms the girls claim they were brought to a home off campus twice & each had bruises. #WTAE

— Marcie Cipriani (@MCipriani_WTAE) February 28, 2018

"What we know for sure is one girl had bruising that her mother saw, which prompted her mother to bring the other girls in," Burton said. He noted that only a few of the women who came in actively spoke with police.

No one needed to be taken to the hospital for treatment, police stated.

Police are now investigating the incident in tandem with the university. The university has already interviewed five of the women and will share details with Penn Hills Police. "We will then conduct a parallel investigation to get more specifics on what happened here," Burton said.

Burton noted that the process has slowed as students leave for spring break, but said police intend to pick up in earnest once instruction resumes.

The sorority has been placed on "interim suspension of recognition," defined as "a cessation of operations of the chapter...pending adjudication of charges filed," according to the university's website. The local and national chapter did not respond to Newsweek's immediate requests for comment.

"This most recent incident, involving Alpha Kappa Alpha, is an opportunity for me to be clear about our zero tolerance for hazing," Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner said in a statement on Wednesday. "Hazing is destructive, demeaning, and demoralizing and has no place on our campus."

He added the allegations have prompted the Division of Student Affairs to "reevaluate the next steps regarding the future of fraternity and sorority life at Pitt."

The Greek life system is already on "modified social probation," meaning members can't host or participate in events where alcohol is present. The rule follows the January hospitalization of an underage student who drank excessively during a Sigma Chi recruiting event.

That fraternity was suspended, though a subsequent police investigation found no evidence of hazing, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.