A former University of Alabama student claims her sorority fined her $4,000 because she missed a week of homecoming events while her father battled cancer.
Katherine Ellis, a 24-year-old from Boston, Massachusetts, has more than 45,000 followers on TikTok, where she documents her life as a sports reporter, podcast host and content creator.
In a recent video, he opened up about participating in the Bama Rush when he started his freshman year of college in 2017.
‘Imagine joining a sorority in Alabama thinking it’s going to be the best thing ever,’ he began, ‘but then your dad gets cancer and they try to fine you thousands of dollars because of it.’
Katherine Ellis Tikto, 24, from Boston, Massachusetts, went viral after claiming that her Alabama sorority punished her for leaving campus after her father was diagnosed with cancer.
Ellis, who started her freshman year at the University of Alabama in 2017, explained that she and her sisters spent eight hours every day for two weeks preparing to return home.
Sororities and fraternities are a significant part of the University of Alabama’s campus culture, with 36 percent of the undergraduate student body being members of the Greek community.
Alabama’s sorority recruitment process, known as the ‘Bama Rush’, has become a viral sensation over the past few years with many aspiring students eager to become a part of Greek life.
‘Freshman year I went to Alabama, and like every girl there who wants a social life, I ran away,’ Ellis explained. ‘When you want to rush in Alabama, you have to decide you want to rush months in advance, and then go through this whole registration process.
‘Registration is an application that takes a lot of time,’ he noted. ‘You have to submit your photo. Submit your resume [and] Letter of recommendation. I didn’t know I needed a letter of recommendation to hang out with a bunch of girls and go to parties.’
Ellis said she tried to prepare herself by watching YouTube videos and talking to people she knew in 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 bid.
‘Thousands of girls are flocking at the same time. So you can’t really pick who you want based on your sorority or the first round because the first round is like five minutes,’ she said.
‘So all the GPAs drop in the first round, and no one told me that if I had a GPA below 3.0, I would be kicked out of almost every house.
They were required to arrange colored tissue paper into small balls of portraits, an Alabama tradition known as ‘pumping’.
Ellis said he missed a week of fun after his father was diagnosed with cancer and underwent ‘life-threatening’ surgery. She dropped her sorority after her $4,000 fine
She added, ‘I don’t know why sororities even care about grades because I had a 2.9 in high school and I left with a 4.0.’ ‘If you can spell Bama – not even Alabama – you can get a 4.0 at that school.’
Ellis considered quitting after being ostracized by most of the school’s sororities, but he stuck with it because he had already paid for registration.
He ended up getting accepted to a sorority, though he didn’t name one, and decided to give Greek life a chance for the semester.
The content creator explained that in honor of homecoming, she and her sorority sisters had to roll colored tissue paper into small balls and decorate them into decorative portraits, an Alabama tradition known as ‘pumping’.
‘For the two weeks of homecoming, we had to be in the sorority house for eight hours every day, rocking it,’ she said.
Ellis demanded that their older sisters carry their cellphones and university ID cards so they wouldn’t get distracted or leave.
‘If you’re caught not being proactive, the hours don’t count, and for every hour you miss, you pay them $100,’ he said.
Alice’s father is unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer around this time, and she flies across the country to be with him while he undergoes ‘life-threatening surgery’.
Ellis left the University of Alabama after his freshman year and transferred to Boston University, where he will graduate in 2021.
Ellis’ video has been viewed more than 3.7 million times, and some commenters were inspired to share their own horror stories.
Instead of being met with sympathy when he returns to campus, his nepotism chastises him for leaving as they prepare for homecoming.
‘I missed a week, and they fined me $4,000,’ she said. ‘So I dropped it.’
Ellis left the University of Alabama after his freshman year and transferred to Boston University, where he graduated in 2021.
He shared his story ahead of the release of HBO’s sensational ‘Bama Rush’ documentary last month, which revealed the dark underbelly of Panhellenic culture.
‘Sisterhood! Am I right?’ she captioned the video, which has been viewed 3.7 million times since it was posted on May 6
More than 2,300 visitors commented on her experience, and some were inspired to share their own horror stories.
‘I got fined for missing an event I was in the ER,’ recalls one man.
‘It’s madness. My daughter was in a sorority. He missed the meeting due to surgery and was fined,’ someone else replied.
‘I got fined for going to my grandfather’s funeral,’ added another.
Ellis noted in the comments that he has not paid the fine, and that he is happy to report that his father has been cancer-free for the past four years.
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