SMU sorority's half-naked dance video leads to lawsuit

A Southern Methodist University student is suing her sorority over a video secretly recorded showing her and other young women members dancing in their underwear.

The incident happened at the SMU Kappa Kappa Gamma house on the night of initiation on Jan. 13, 2016. The young woman who filed the suit on Wednesday, only named as Jane Doe, is seeking more than $1 million in damages and the destruction of all copies of the video.

The lawsuit says Jane Doe and her sorority sisters “danced in varying states of undress while singing for the freshmen who had just received bids to join the sorority.” The senior members were only allowed to wear bras and panties.

The suit said the dance, this year to Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova,” was a “longstanding tradition and ritual at SMU and other Kappa chapters across the country.” Some of the girls who participated had been drinking alcohol.

The suit said the dance was secretly recorded without the women’s consent or knowledge and then the national sorority “bullied” the sorority members by threatening to release the video. The suit said the Kappa House Mom recorded the dance via a security camera installed in the chapter room of the Kappa house.

The suit claims Kappa nationals showed and shared copies of the video in an effort to find out who performed the dance and remove them from the sorority after word had reportedly leaked out that the dancing had occurred. The suit said the national office was trying to preempt potential embarrassing stories from getting out.

It also states the showing and distributing of the video is a felony violation of Texas laws and was “reprehensible” since it was used as a “weapon” to “threaten” the students involved.

After the video investigation by Kappa nationals, 18 seniors in KKG were permanently dismissed from the sorority and 10 others had their membership placed on probation.

The suit said Kappa national refused to answer questions over who saw the video, whose possession the video had been in or hand over copies of the video -- so they decided to sue to ensure all copies of the video were destroyed.

“The last thing that [Jane Doe] wanted to do was file this lawsuit,” the suit states.

In addition to Kappa national, two other individuals were also named as defendants.

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