Lawsuit filed against national fraternity

Lexington resident Brent Whiteside filed a lawsuit last month against a fraternity with a suspended UK chapter saying some members of the fraternity beat him during hazing rituals.

Whiteside filed the suit against Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. in Fayette Circuit Court on Jan. 22. In the lawsuit, Whiteside said he was hazed from Jan. 29, 2008, to March 7, 2008, during his pledging period for Eastern Kentucky University’s Kappa Alpha chapter.

According to the lawsuit, EKU chapter members “repeatedly struck and violently beat Whiteside with hands, fists, feet, paddles and canes on and upon his stomach, chest, back and buttocks, inflicting life-threatening and disabling injuries.”

On or about March 6, UK Kappa Alpha Psi members joined in the initiation process and “repeatedly punched and slapped Whiteside on and about his stomach, chest and back, inflicting additional life-threatening and disabling injuries,” according to the lawsuit.

Whiteside was also hospitalized for renal failure and other injuries following the hazing. The lawsuit states Whiteside was unable to return for EKU’s 2008 Spring semester and suffered lost wages, permanent physical injuries, mental impairment, anguish, embarrassment and humiliation. He is seeking an undetermined amount of punitive damages from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.

Both EKU and UK’s Kappa Alpha Psi chapters are currently under suspension.

The UK chapter was charged with hazing and found responsible for hazing violations and suspended for eight years from the university, Associate Dean of Students Tony Blanton said.

The UK Interfraternity Council’s Constitution and Bylaws prevent hazing. Hazing is defined as “any action taken or situation created intentionally to produce mental or physical discomfort‚ embarrassment‚ ridicule‚ or harassment‚ whether on or off fraternity premises.”

Spencer Bruce, chief of staff for Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., declined comment. The national organization’s executive director, Richard Snow, was out of the office and unavailable to comment.

Whiteside’s attorney, Denotra Spruill Gunther, declined to comment on the case.