Mother claims hazing at Northwestern led to daughter's suicide

/ CBS/AP

CHICAGO — The mother of a player on the Northwestern University women's basketball team who died in 2017 has sued a sorority claiming hazing by its members led to her daughter's suicide. Felicia Hankins said the hazing of Jordan Hankins by members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority caused severe anxiety and depression and led to her death in January 2017.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago also names the Gamma Chi undergraduate chapter of the sorority at Northwestern, the Delta Chi Omega graduate chapter of the sorority and sorority executives.

The lawsuit contends that Jordan Hankins was "subjected to physical abuse including paddling, verbal abuse, mental abuse, financial exploitation, sleep deprivation, items being thrown and dumped on her, and other forms of hazing intended to humiliate and demean her."

Maryland's Brene Moseley (3) and Northwestern's Jordan Hankins (5) go for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten Conference tournament Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Indianapolis. Darron Cummin/AP

Officials with Chicago-based Alpha Kappa Alpha couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday. A spokesman for Northwestern University sent a statement to CBS News.

"Northwestern remains deeply saddened by the death of Jordan Hankins two years ago, and we continue to send our kindest thoughts and condolences to her friends and family," it said. "We are aware of a lawsuit that was recently filed in federal court regarding her death. Northwestern University is not a named party in this lawsuit."

"The sorority involved has been and continues to be suspended from the University," the statement said. "Because this is a matter now in litigation, the University is not commenting further on the lawsuit."

Hankins was recruited out of Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis.

First published on January 10, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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