Fraternity Faces15 Million Lawsuit Over Hazing Death
NASHVILLE, Tenn.A $15 million lawsuit filed against Omega Psi Phi fraternity claims an initiation hazing killed a Tennessee State University pledge. Joseph T. Green, 25, died after he collapsed on the track of a local high school before dawn on Jan. 29, 2001 (see Black Issues, April 26, 2001). His parents, Lentora Parker and Joseph T. Green Sr., contend in a complaint filed earlier this month that fraternity members ordered their son and seven other pledges to perform “illegal hazing activities.”Officials with Omega Psi Phi declined to comment. Nashville medical examiner Bruce Levy concluded last March that Green, who was admitted to the hospital with a temperature of 103.7, died of acute asthma and overheating after he was ordered to jog and perform calisthenics during a fraternity initiation. No criminal charges were filed, but Tennessee State last year suspended the Omega Psi Phi chapter for five years. In 1983, the university suspended the chapter for five years after a fraternity member died of alcohol poisoning following an initiation party. The lawsuit also named as defendants two students, identifying them as fraternity members in charge of the initiation activities. Tennessee State said the two are no longer enrolled as students, and they could not be reached for comment.
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