Fraternity Hazing Led to University of Nebraska-Lincoln Freshman’s Suicide, Lawsuit Alleges

Fraternity hazing

Weeks of fraternity hazing caused a student from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to commit suicide in 2019, a recent lawsuit has alleged.

Hazing abuse: In the lawsuit filed by Kam Rokon in Lancaster County District Court, he claimed that before his 18-year-old brother Rahat Jalil took his own life in January 2019, he was forced to stand outside naked all night and told to urinate on other pledges, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.

  • Lambda Phi Epsilon, an Asian-centered fraternity founded in 2016, is not subject to university-approved housing rules as it does not have a house on campus.
  • The suit, filed against Lambda Phi Epsilon International and its Nebraska chapter, is seeking an unspecified amount in damages for not having policies in place that would ensure Jalil’s safety.
  • While the school was not named in the case, the lawsuit claimed that Jalil suffered from violated state law and school policies.
  • Katie Cheatle, the lawyer for the local chapter of Lambda Phi Epsilon has denied that Jalil’s death was not caused by anything the fraternity did.

Jalil’s death: On Jan. 16, 2019, the UNL freshman reportedly jumped from the 11th floor of a campus dormitory to his death, two days after being inducted as a member of the fraternity.

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  • Rokon filed the lawsuit after learning from former members that his brother endured eight weeks of hazing from the fraternity.
  • During this period, Jalil allegedly suffered verbal and physical abuse at the hands of frat members.
  • Rokon said he was able to eventually confirm from fraternity members during a meeting with them in August 2020 nearly all of what the former members shared with them. 
  • “About 95 percent of them confirmed and they elaborated on it, at first they weren’t willing to share anything and I got frustrated because they were still standing by the secrecy and brotherhood,” Rokon was quoted as saying. “I said that brotherhood goes away when someone dies.”
  • Rokon then asked the members if they would let their future sons into their fraternity, and allegedly six replied no.
  • UNL has stated that the case is still being investigated by the Student Affairs office.

Featured Image via Lambda Phi Epsilon

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