A former University of Alabama student has claimed her sorority fined her $4,000 because she missed a week of homecoming events while her father was battling cancer.
Katherine Ellis, 24, from Boston, Massachusetts, has more than 45,000 followers on TikTok, where she documents her life as a sports journalist, podcast host and content creator.
In a recent videoshe spoke about her participation in Bama Rush when she started her freshman year of college in 2017.
“Imagine joining a sorority in Alabama thinking it’s going to be the best thing ever,” she began, “but then your dad gets cancer and they try to fine you thousands of dollars because of that.”
Katherine Ellis, 24, from Boston, Massachusetts, went viral on TikTok after claiming her sorority in Alabama penalized her for leaving campus after her father was diagnosed with cancer
Ellis, who started her freshman year at the University of Alabama in 2017, said she and her sisters had to prepare for the ride home eight hours a day for two straight weeks.
Sororities and fraternities are an important part of campus culture at the University of Alabama, where 36 percent of the non-graduate student body is a member of the Greek community.
Alabama’s sorority recruitment process, known as the “Bama Rush,” has become a viral sensation in recent years thanks to a number of aspiring students vying to be a part of life. Greek.
“The freshman year, I went to Alabama, and like every girl there that wants a social life, I rushed over,” Ellis explained. “When you want to rush to Alabama, you have to decide you want to rush months in advance and then go through this whole registration process.
“Registration is a time-consuming request to make,” she noted. “You must submit photos of yourself. You must submit your resume [and] letter of recommendation. I didn’t know I needed f*****g letters of recommendation to hang out with a group of girls and go to parties.
Ellis said she tried to prepare by watching YouTube videos and talking to people she knew at sororities to figure out what she needed to do to get in.
However, she wished someone had warned her that her high school GPA would affect her chances of getting a sorority offer.
“Thousands of girls going through the race at the same time. So you can’t really choose who you want in your sorority or not based on the first round, because the first round is about five minutes long,” he said. she declared.
“So round one is all GPA drops, and no one told me that if I had less than 3.0 GPA I would be removed from almost every house right off the bat.
They had to roll colored tissue paper into small balls and arrange them in decorative portraits, an Alabama tradition known as “pumping”.
Ellis said she missed a week of pumping after her father was diagnosed with cancer and underwent “life-threatening” surgery. She dropped out after her sorority fined her $4,000
“I also don’t know why the sororities even care about grades because I had a 2.9 going into Bama, and I left with a 4.0,” she added. “If you can spell Bama – not even Alabama – you can get a 4.0 in this school.”
Ellis considered quitting after being dropped by most of the school’s sororities, but remained loyal as she had already paid for enrollment.
She ended up being accepted into a sorority, though she didn’t name which one, and decided to give Greek life a shot for the semester.
The content creator explained that in honor of coming home, she and her sorority sisters had to ride colored tissue paper into small balls and arrange them in decorative portraits, an Alabama tradition known as “pumping.”
“For the two weeks leading up to homecoming, we had to be at the sorority house eight hours a day, pumping it up,” she said.
Ellis claimed their big sisters would take their cellphones and college IDs with them to keep them from getting distracted or leaving.
“If you’re caught not actively pumping, the hour doesn’t count, and for every hour you miss, you owe them $100,” she said.
Ellis’ father was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer at this time, and she traveled across the country to be with him while he underwent “life-threatening surgery”.
Ellis left the University of Alabama after her freshman year and transferred to Boston University, where she graduated in 2021
Ellis’ video has been viewed over 3.7 million times, and some commenters were inspired to share their own sorority horror stories
Instead of being greeted with sympathy when she returned to campus, her sorority penalized her for leaving while they prepared to return.
“I missed a week and they fined me $4,000,” she said. “So I gave up.”
Ellis left the University of Alabama after her freshman year and transferred to Boston University, where she graduated in 2021.
She shared her story ahead of the release last month of HBO’s sensational ‘Bama Rush’ documentary, which revealed the dark underbelly of Panhellenic culture.
‘Sorority! Am I right?’ she captioned the video, which has been viewed 3.7 million times since it was posted on May 6.
Over 2,300 viewers commented on her experience, and some were inspired to share their own sorority horror stories.
“I was fined for missing an event because I was in the emergency room,” one person recalled.
‘It’s crazy. My daughter was in the sorority. She missed meetings due to surgery and was fined,’ someone else replied.
“I was fined for going to my grandfather’s funeral,” another added.
Ellis noted in the comments that she didn’t pay the fine, and she was also happy to report that her father had been cancer-free for four years.