*The following is an open letter to Dr. Willis L. Lonzer president of the Alpha Phi Fraternity from Patricia Hilliard the aunt of Tyler Hilliard and his family members.
To Hon: Dr. Lonzer:
The Alpha Phi Fraternity is one of the most prominent fraternities in the nation with members that have included American icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Judge Thurgood Marshall, activist Dick Gregory, Congressmember Adam Clayton Powell, and singer Lionel Ritchie are just a few of the prominent members of this fraternity. This fraternity has helped uplift thousands of African Americans through its membership and its service nationwide.
As a family member of Tyler Hilliard, his parents, and our family were devastated at his death on September 16th, 2018. We believe without question that Tyler who was just 20 years old and a junior at UC Riverside College died because of allegedly being hazed while pledging to become a member of the UC Riverside Alpha Phi Fraternity.
Tyler collapsed during alleged hazing rituals that ended at Mount Roubidoux. The coroner’s office determined the 20-year-old’s cause of death to be “complications of congenital artery anomalies.” Tyler had a passion for community service and an ardent desire to help the homeless and those in need. His unfortunate death continues to haunt our family. We will never see Tyler graduate from college, become married, and have a family of his own.
Dr. Willis L. Lonzer, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has a statement on your website which reads in part their anti-hazing stance. “Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. strictly prohibits hazing in any form whether physical or mental as a term or condition of membership in the organization, Hazing is illegal and a crime in most jurisdictions”.
That is why our family members were shocked that Tyler was a hazing victim allegedly at the hands of his Alpha Phi Alpha big brothers. We now know the words on your website condemning hazing are just empty words. The hazing epidemic which our family and supporters believe took Tyler’s life continues. This September the Indiana University Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was placed on cease and desist for hazing. All activities within the chapter are suspended until further notice.
In recent years Alpha Phi Alpha Chapters have also been suspended at the University of Louisiana, The University of Mississippi, and Tyler’s school UC Riverside after he died in 2018 just to name a few of the colleges where hazing took place.
This is why our family must speak out about the hazing epidemic in fraternities nationwide. Our family now knows that hazing was a big part of the activities Tyler engaged in which helped end his life. Tyler was allegedly forced to eat what is called an Alpha onion. An entire onion was covered in hot sauce, forced to drink enormous amounts of water; and even beaten with a paddle that had a piece of cactus attached to it.
There were also disturbing text messages sent to Tyler’s phone from his Alpha Phi Alpha big brother “directing him to make a paddle so we can beat you guys with it when you get here,”
“Our family also found that the UC Regents investigated an anonymous tip that there was some hazing going on by the Alpha Phi Alpha members years prior,” Thanks to the arduous work of our family attorneys Toni Jaramilla and Jim DeSimone in a search for the truth they have obtained new evidence: audio recordings of police interviews with my Tyler’s classmates who were also pledging the fraternity.
“Pledges who met with the police gave statements that they were physically abused every night for at least a five-week straight period. Unfortunately, some of these pledges and Alpha Fraternity members who were part of a brotherhood Tyler believed in and sacrificed so much to be a part of which cost him his life have all pleaded the 5th amendment.
The lawyers representing our family attempted to interview Tyler’s friends who pledged with him and the Alpha members who allegedly engaged in hazing all of them. In the ultimate act of cowardice and betrayal of Tyler in death. David Awolowo (Alpha) Chesemebi Obi (Alpha) Kamron Pyant (pledge) Justin Wells (pledge) and Kenny Kuba (pledge)
All refused to cooperate after meeting with lawyers from Alpha Phi Alpha who advised them all not to cooperate. Our family members believe if Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity members had nothing to hide, they would not have all pleaded the 5th Amendment.
The Alpha Phi Fraternity members who our family believes played a role in Tyler’s death should have the courage and conviction to tell the truth. Instead, they have all engaged in silence. These fraternity members are not behaving like men. Their behavior is just like school children who know they have been caught and engaged in something horrific but will not come forward publicly with what they did.
A trial date has been set for January 2024. To hold Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity accountable for Tyler’s death due to hazing. Dr. Lonza, our family looks forward to telling the nation that the fraternity of Dr. King and Thurgood Marshall we believe is solely responsible for Tyler’s death.
A fraternity that our family along with many of our supporters nationwide has lost all respect for along with its leadership. Our family will continue to call for public policy to create stronger anti-hazing laws, protocols, and policies in place so death by hazing does not have to happen to another student.
Patricia Hillard the aunt of Tyler Hilliard and his family members.
source: Najee Ali – Operation Islamic Hope.
RELATED NEWS ON EURWEB: Tyler Hilliard’s Parents to File Lawsuit Against Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for Son’s Hazing Death
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