Jordan Hankins' mother sues Northwestern sorority for wrongful death in daughter's suicide

Mark Rivera Image
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Mother sues Northwestern sorority for wrongful death in daughter's suicide
Jordan Hankins, a Northwestern University sophomore, committed suicide in January 2017.

The mother of a Northwestern University basketball player who committed suicide two years ago filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the university's chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Sophomore Jordan Hankins was an Alpha Kappa Alpha pledge and subjected to hazing that caused her severe anxiety and depression, according to the 50-page complaint.

As a result of the hazing, Hankins hanged herself in her dorm room on Jan. 9, 2017, the lawsuit alleges.


The family's attorney said: "Every year, tragedy strikes as a result of fraternity and sorority hazing rituals. The complaint alleges, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and specifically the Gamma Chi chapter at Northwestern University, have a history of hazing allegations by women within the sorority and those seeking to join. Jordan Hankins was at the prime of her life and seeking to join an organization she believed was dedicated to sisterhood and personal and professional development. Instead, as a condition of her membership, it is alleged she was subjected to severe physical and mental abuse by members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Despite repeated warnings that the hazing was triggering Hankins' anxiety and depression, we allege that AKA failed to take action to stop the abuse, resulting in Hankins taking her own life. It is critical that we hold the sorority and the individuals who were personally involved accountable - and to eliminate these dangerous and deadly rituals before another tragedy occurs."

Northwestern University is not named in the complaint, but Hankins' death is one of a string of suicides of students on campus -- nine since 2013, four of which happened in 2018.

In a statement, the university said: "Northwestern remains deeply saddened by the death of Jordan Hankins two years ago, and we continue to send our kindest thoughts and condolences to her friends and family. We are aware of a lawsuit that was recently filed in federal court regarding her death. Northwestern University is not a named party in this lawsuit. The sorority involved has been and continues to be suspended from the University. Because this is a matter now in litigation, the University is not commenting further on the lawsuit."

The sorority did not immediately return requests for comment.