MARSHALL - An East Texas Christian college and one of its fraternities is being sued by a student who claims a hazing incident left him with permanent kidney failure and required that he have skin grafts over his wounds.
Xavier Christopher Foster filed suit against Jarvis Christian College, Kappa Alpha PSI Fraternity Inc., Sadallie "CJ" Cole Jr., Waymon Keith Humphrey, Bruce M. Namce and Omar Travelle McElroy on Jan. 5 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.
Foster enrolled as a freshman at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins in August 2009 and elected to pledge membership with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.
Foster attended an intake meeting in March 2010 in which the college and the fraternity detailed the requirements for membership which included minimum grade point average, approval by current members and successful completion of a written examination on the history, rituals and traditions of the fraternity. At the meeting, the members expressly represented to Foster that it did not sanction physical or psychological hazing of pledges.
Foster states that he completed the requirements for membership on April 24, 2010, but that afternoon a member of the fraternity ordered him to report to the apartment for further initiation into the national fraternity and its local chapter.
According to the allegations, during the next several hours, Foster was drilled with questions and with each incorrect answer he would receive blows from heavy wooden paddles and rods. Later that evening, he was instructed to report to a second apartment in which he was further hit with paddles, rods and boards for approximately two more hours, the suit alleges.
After five hours of "near non-stop beatings, verbal and psychological abuse," he was pronounced a member of the "Century Club," which was reserved for those who could withstand at least 100 blows during the initiation process, according to the lawsuit.
By May 3, 2010, Foster was diagnosed with acute renal failure and admitted to the hospital and began dialysis. The wounds on Foster's buttocks had ruptured and required complete debridement and ongoing treatment of a wound care specialist.
He was released from the hospital eight days later. Foster states he lost 10 percent of his renal function.
The fraternity is accused of negligence for failing to instruct its members that hazing was unlawful and contrary to policies, failing to protect pledges, failing to put into place rules and regulations to ensure that local chapters did not engage in hazing, failing to enforce any existing policies or rules against hazing, failing to supervise the conduct of its members, failing to discipline members and locals chapters who participated in hazing, and failing to take reasonable steps to investigate allegations of hazing and other forms of physical or psychological violence.
The college is accused of negligence for failing to instruct fraternities that hazing was unlawful, failing to adopt regulations to protect pledges and other potential fraternity members, failing to protect pledges, failing to put into place reasonable rules and regulations to protect pledges, failing to enforce any existing policies or rules against hazing, failing to supervise the conduct of the university approved fraternities, failing to take reasonable steps to investigate allegations of hazing of other forms of physical or psychological violence.
The college and fraternity are also accused of negligence per se and gross negligence.
Foster is also accusing the fraternity members of assault and battery.
The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for medical expenses, permanent disfigurement, physical impairment and pain, suffering and mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, exemplary damages, court costs and interest.
Foster is represented by Henderson attorney James A. Holmes.
Case No. 2:12-cv-0007