We spoke with a former high school classmate of the girl in the Theta hazing tapes
She was described as ‘very quiet, very shy’
The Tab spoke to Ashley Gardner, 20, who is a former classmate of Rya Carroll at Bloomingdale High School in Valrico, Florida. Rya Carroll is the speaker in the tapes released where hazing is described in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at the University of Florida.
What would you describe the demographics of your home community as?
I mean, I wouldn’t say it was mostly white. It was like 50 percent white and 50 percent colored people.
What do you know about Rya Carroll?
I wasn’t actually too close with her so I don’t really know that much about her. All I really knew what when she interacted with me she was really nice. We had a few classes together and associated occasionally.
How would you describe Rya in high school?
She was in SGA — she was dating a kid that was in our SGA. She was really smart, and she was really active with what was going on in the school. She never once portrayed that she would be somebody who acted like that.
What was your reaction when you heard the tapes and saw that it was Rya?
Not going to lie, I almost — excuse my language — I almost shit myself. I never once realized that this would come from someone who was so closed off and shy in high school. You wouldn’t hear any bad things about her. She was very quiet, very shy, very nice. She never once said anything like that ever, that I knew of, in front of school people.
Do you have any guesses on what it could be?
I think this is definitely who she has been her entire life. I just never knew this side of her. You never really know someone unless you’re behind closed doors with them. She could’ve been like this in high school. I wouldn’t know.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The only thing that I really have to say is that it’s really appalling that someone that you kind of know, that someone that you hear about all the time, actually acts like this. Even though they’ve been around POC forever. Why are you making it sound like such a big deal that one of your friends is making out with one of them? That just really aggravates me. And the fact that they’re hazing the people that are trying to come into that sorority, is disgusting. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
Parts of this interview were cut out for clarity and brevity.