PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The mother of a University of Pittsburgh student is speaking out for the first time about a sorority hazing incident last month that, she says, put her daughter in therapy and has made her afraid to even go to class.
Sue Levy-Giles of Philadelphia told KDKA’s sister station KYW-TV that the past month has been “absolutely heartbreaking” for her 20-year-old daughter, Alexandria, who is a pre-med major at Pitt.
“She cannot go to class alone,” she said. “She is unable to be by herself.”
Levy-Giles says her daughter was hazed while pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority back in mid-February. Alexandria didn’t tell her about it until days later when her mother noticed a nasty bruise.
“She broke down. She just started sobbing,” says Levy-Giles.
When she asked for details, Levy-Giles says her daughter told her she and 11 other pledges were forced into a car and driven to a strange house in Penn Hills where they were beaten with paddles in a dark basement.
“She had been kicked, pushed, punched and slapped. She had been forced to ingest rotten food,” said Levy-Giles, who says her daughter even broke a tooth.
Shortly after she learned of the attack, Levy-Giles went to Penn Hills police to demand that they investigate, which they continue to do.
“These young girls they probably weren’t aware of what was going on, what was right or what was wrong,” said Police Chief Howard Burton. “I think mom got them together and explained, hey, that’s not right.”
Shortly after the incident came to light, Pitt suspended Alpha Kappa Alpha and that suspension continues. The sorority’s national organization issued a statement saying they were “appalled” have “zero tolerance” for hazing. For Levy-Giles, that’s not enough.
“As a mom, I’m sorry,” she said. “I wish I could have protected her, but I entrusted her to the university. I entrusted her to my sorority.”
Levy-Giles says the hazing is doubly painful because she is herself a member of AKA, and her daughter has wanted to be a sister since she was a little girl.
“She would wear pink and green. Her room at one point was pink and green. She always looked forward to becoming a member of the sorority,” Levy Giles said.