Jason Harris and Michael Morton (scroll down for pix) had the world going for them.
Proud members of Kappa Alpha Psi, they defied their national organization’s order not to haze.
Harris took a less active part, but nonetheless a Florida jury’s message rang loud and clear: “Sell Out” and it’s “Cell In” for you.
The lawyers of both plan to appeal, arguing that Florida’s law on “serious bodily harm” was vague and that Judge Kathleen Dekker shouldn’t have offered a definition. We’ll see where that goes.
Three other defendants remain in limbo. While the jury could not convict, neither could it find the other members innocent. Still ahead is a decision to retry the Kappas or let them go.
Now there is just one more verdict to render. Kappa Alpha Psi’s Polemarch (national president) Samuel Hamilton has justly and strongly urged an end to hazing.
Polemarch Hamilton, in my view, now must send an equally strong, albeit, unpopular decision.
A Florida jury has said Mr. Harris and Mr. Morton are guilty of felony hazing.
Right now, Jason Harris and Michael Morton, although convicted of felony hazing in the beating of a pledge, still remain in the company of Watson Diggs (a KAP founder), tennis legend Arthur Ashe, columnist William Raspberry, and civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy.
Sadly, Mr. Harris and Mr. Morton have chosen by their hazing behavior to prevent a potential member from enjoying membership in one of America’s most prestigious organizations.
They must be expelled by following whatever bylaws are appropriate.
You paddle a butt and you get yours kicked in court.
That’s a hard lesson for all fraternity and sorority members–and not just the Kappas–to learn.
Now there’s one more hard lesson to learn.
The public needs to hear that Kappa Alpha Psi regrets it must end the membership of Mr. Harris and Mr. Morton for hazing.
It’s a tough call.
It must be made.