Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity’s Unremitting Hypocrisy and Discrimination

Black Greek Lettered Organizations

(Photo Credit: Mase TV)

On October 28, 2013, Erica Green, a writer for The Baltimore Sun, reported that a Morgan State University undergraduate student, Brian Stewart, asserted that he was rejected membership into Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. because he is openly gay.  When it comes to discrimination based on sexual orientation, Kappa Alpha Psi arguably has the worst record of all Black Greek Lettered Organizations.  Brian Stewart has an impressive academic record and a demonstrated record of service.  Kappa Alpha Psi was founded for the sole purpose of achievement.  Unfortunately, many chapters of the Fraternity are not living up to its founding purpose.

Brian Stewart’s case is not an anomaly—it’s exponentially becoming the norm. 

Many Black undergraduate and graduate males who have outstanding records are being denied membership into Kappa Alpha Psi for bigoted reasons, especially if some Kappas know or suspect that they are gay.  This Fraternity was founded in response to the unsettling racial discrimination experienced by Blacks on the campus of Indiana University in 1911.  Today, many of the organization’s chapters are embracing discrimination and employing it as a tool of oppression to prevent diverse candidates from joining.

While many Kappas claim that they are committed to achievement, they are voting against candidates who have strong records of demonstrated achievement, and they are voting for candidates who have poor academic records and limited community and extracurricular involvement.  Some of the fundamental reasons why these candidates with poor records are being voted into the Fraternity are they agree to be hazed, they are not noticeably or openly gay, they do not have records that make the corrupt members envious, and they represent the type of inadequate achievement that numerous extant members champion.

Many Kappas are devoted to the good of the Fraternity and do not discriminate against any candidate.  They vote based on what the Founders have delineated as the qualities of effective Kappa Alpha Psi members.  Those expressed qualities do not excluded candidates who are gay or who are thought to be gay.  Kappa Alpha Psi has numerous openly and undercover gay and bisexual members.  With this being the reality, why do many members in various chapters across the nation have such hostility toward gay candidates?  Are the heterosexual members of the Fraternity afraid that they will have sexual intercourse with new gay members? Perhaps.

Many current members of Kappa Alpha Psi were rejected for discriminatory reasons, including being openly gay or being suspected as gay, as undergraduates and had to find alumni chapters at other institutions to be admitted into the organization.  By no means does this indicate that alumni chapters do not discriminate—they do.  This means that the only way they became members was they had to locate an alumni chapter that did not discriminate. 

One of the most unacceptable cases of an alumni chapter of the Fraternity discriminating against an exceptional candidate occurred at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The Madison Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi rejected a candidate who had credentials that were superior to most of the members of this chapter.  Unfortunately, this great candidate is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a department with two professors who are members of the alumni chapter and who are also envious of this young man.  They worked tirelessly to sabotage his candidacy for membership by telling blatant lies about him, including that “he is gay,” “a crazy Marxist who will blow the building up,” “does not complete his work,” and “does not do good work.”  One of these two professors told the other that the candidate “was talking bad about him” and told him that the candidate said that “he cannot teach.” 

This lead to the two aforementioned individuals (with the help of another graduate student in the same department who is a Kappa) convincing enough members to reject this young man.  When this young man informed the National Headquarters of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. about what happened, he was told the Fraternity’s leadership would investigate the situation and contact him.  It has been over three years and he has not received a response, although he has contacted the national officers several times each year to follow-up about his case.

Similarly, the alumni chapter at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia rejected an excellent candidate for membership because enough members suspected that he was gay.  This candidate even had recommendation letters from a couple of the leaders of the alumni chapter, but they wrote the recommendation letters only to fool him that they were going to support him and vote for him.  This young man with a fine academic and community involvement record was rejected because he “looks like he’s gay,” “is feminine” and “acts like he’s gay.”

At Albany State University in Albany, Georgia, an undergraduate student with a remarkable record was rejected by the undergraduate chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi because “he’s gay,” “he already thinks he’s a Kappa,” and “he ain’t gonna pledge.”  All of these were assumptions made by some of the undergraduate leaders of the chapter who influenced enough people to reject him.

The aforementioned cases highlight the hypocrisy and discrimination that is taking place in many chapters of Kappa Alpha Psi across the country.  Without higher education administrators intervening to stop discriminatory practices used by many Black Greek Lettered Organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi, this egregious discrimination will persist.  It’s time for higher education administrators to require that candidates for membership into Black Greek Lettered Organizations be voted on solely by national officers at their respective national headquarters.

More people who have been discriminated against by Black Greek Lettered Organizations should come forward and share their stories and evidence.  You can fight effectively against this discrimination by promulgating your experiences to higher education administrators and state and national politicians. 

Today, call upon Kappa Alpha Psi and other Black Greek Lettered Organizations to change the way that membership voting takes place.

Contact Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.’s national officers right now.  Let the national officers know that no form of discrimination by any of their chapters and members is acceptable.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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14 comments

  1. I don’t get it, why seek an organization that do not want you? These organizations are not employers; they’re essentially clubs and if you don’t fit in, than try another organization. There are so many organizations; I suggest people find the one for them and stop asking a group of people to accept them when they don’t fit in…….

    1. Unfortunately, you are wrong. They are not “essentially clubs.” These organizations are university-sponsored organizations, which means they have to abide by non-discrimination laws and clauses. While I would recommend people to not join an organization like Kappa Alpha Psi that discriminates against people, those people have a right to join an organization that has a history of greatness and a larger purpose than its current leadership is reflecting. With Black people suffering from an ingrained history of discrimination, you would think that Blacks would be the last people to discriminate. Unfortunately, Blacks can be some of the most discriminatory people, which Kappas continue to prove true.

  2. Why be apart of something that doesn’t want you? NO matter how you slice it its a club and they do make the final decision on who they want in it. If its not you for whatever reason then oh well. It’s not a public office or something of the sorts.

    Like who pledge nowadays? Join a gym. It’s more beneficial.

    1. I have to respectfully disagree with you. First, I have no desire to join this organization. I’m a passionate anti-discrimination advocate. These fraternities and sororities are not “clubs”; they are university-sponsored organizations. They have to, therefore, abide by federal, state, and institutional non-discrimination laws and their own non-discrimination clauses. I contend that it’s crucial to place pressure on organizations that discriminate to change their ways. Imagine where African-Americans would be today if we didn’t push for change against those who discriminated against us. It’s not all chapters of the organization (Kappa Alpha Psi) that discriminates but many chapter do. Yeah, many students are deciding not to pledge anymore. It’s understandable why many choose not pledge anymore too, considering many chapters of these Black fraternities and sororities aren’t doing anything meaningful anyway. Indeed, joining a gym is more beneficial than being a member of one of these organizations. On that point, we certainly agree.

      1. But how are they discriminating if there are out homosexuals already in their organization? Yes it is a club, there is an “audition” process and they have the right to accept or deny anyone whom they don’t feel fit the essence of their organization. It’s not open to the public so they do have the right to do whatever they want under the guidelines they setup. By they I mean their official chapter rules.

        1. Because the existing homosexuals in the organization had to “shop” for one of the few chapters that don’t discriminate. The “out” homosexuals in the organization are in the minority and are not given any positions of power. The undercover ones try to present themselves as hypermasculine and try to keep out anyone who they perceive as gay. While higher education administrators may be allowing these fraternities and sororities to function as clubs, this is a violation of these universities’ own rules governing non-discrimination for registered student organizations. Kappa Alpha Psi is a registered student organization; that’s a fact. The organization is open to the public, considering that any student with the appropriate grade point average is eligible for membership. Kappa Alpha Psi is not a private organization.

          1. You have to be invited to PLEDGE any Greek organization and after successfully completing the pledge process you are invited to join. This clearly exemplifies that – NO – these organizations are not “open to the public.” K A Psi, Inc. is literally a PRIVATE incorporated entity.

            Your logic has no basis in reality. If Greek orgs were open to the public there would be no purpose in the rush or pledge process. This is how organizations lose chemistry, comradery and fraternity. If the brothers cannot choose who they will affiliate themselves with, and curate the new members based on fit, then you end up with a house full of guys that have less and less in common. —> Brothers in name only.

  3. Kappa Alpha Psi does not have to accept anyone no matter their level of “achievement”. Membership is more than just having a high GPA and outstanding leadership it also has a lot to do with if you get along well with others (especially the brothers of the chapter) and are willing to sacrifice some individualism for the greater good of the fraternity. I think this student needs to refocus his priorities and reassess why he was not accepted and not use his sexuality as a crutch. Unfortunately his response to his rejection just furthers the validity of why he was not accepted in the fraternity.

    1. Evans Watson:

      I could not disagree with you more. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was founded for the sole purpose of achievement. With this in mind, a student who has substantial achievement in various areas of his life and has the support of most the members of the chapter should be accepted. In this particular student’s case that I refer to in this article, he had the support of the majority of the members; however, not enough of them were financial members. This led to the few members who were against him to have just enough votes for his membership to be approved. It seems that you are just another Kappa who wants to defend anything the organization has done. I find it to be a good thing that the outstanding guy did not get into a fraternity that’s not doing anything substantial and a fraternity that’s known more today for its hazing leading to permanent injuries and death than anything else. It’s so funny that an organization with so many gay guys will elect to discriminate against anyone.

  4. Every guy that didn’t receive a bid to join a fraternity that they rushed always 1.) Touts how strong of a record / resume / connections / references they have (or how rich their parents are) and 2.) Blames their rejection on some form of discrimination. “They don’t like me because…”

    The problem with 1 is freshmen often come to school believing that they should star in a movie about them just because they got into college. It rubs Senior bros the wrong way when freshmen act like they’re guaranteed a bid, carry on as if they’re already brothers or even worse, seem to think that anyone cares how much of a rock star they were in high school.

    The problem is 2 is that it’s a really convenient excuse for young, naive, entitled freshmen that start the rush process thinking “I’m a high school rock star. Of course I belong at XYZ fraternity. I’ll be President in a semester or two.”

    Look back at the reasons the Kappas at Albany State listed: “he thinks he’s already a Kappa” and “he ain’t gonna pledge” — This kid could have walked in with a harem of concubines, it still would not have made up for his ENTITLED attitude that clearly didn’t mesh with the brothers. Anyone that “ain’t gonna pledge” is wasting the chapter’s time.

    You ever wonder if mabey…juuuuuust maybe…discrimination had less the brothers just didn’t think these guys were a good fit for their house?

    This applies to Black Frats, White Frats, Latin@ Frats, Asian frats, eating societies at Ivies…everyone runs into this universal college archetype and it only gets worse at more elite schools.

    GoBEARS

    Phi Alpha

    1. This was not a freshmen case — this was an alumni chapter case. Your arguments are so weak and silly. Here’s my dominant question for you: Why do most of you who are in Greek-lettered organizations always attempt to de-legitimize any complaint about discrimination?

    2. Also, those same Kappas at Albany State University informed the guy he was impressive and exemplified all of the characteristics of a great Kappa man. However, they still chose not to select him because of some members’ jealousy and envy.

  5. First –> discrimination of all kinds is certainly an issue in all Greek culture and sometimes (very subtly) it’s apparent overall college social life. We all need to do better. That being said…

    EVERY (GDI) guy that didn’t receive a bid to join a fraternity that they rushed always 1.) Touts how strong of a record / resume / connections / references they have (or how rich their parents are) and 2.) Blames their rejection on some form of discrimination. “They don’t like me because…”

    The problem with 1 is freshmen often come to school believing that they should star in a movie about them just because they got into college. It rubs Senior bros the wrong way when freshmen act like they’re guaranteed a bid, carry on as if they’re already brothers or even worse, seem to think that anyone cares how much of a rock star they were in high school.

    The problem is 2 is that it’s a really convenient excuse for young, naive, entitled freshmen that start the rush process thinking “I’m a high school rock star. Of course I belong at XYZ fraternity. I’ll be President in a semester or two.” Now they are taking it a step further and whining to blogs about it —->> A clear attempt to try to sully the name of the house.

    This is vindictive and immature (classic freshmen GDI move). If someone wants to know why they didn’t get a bid, they should grow up and ask a brother face to face. Then move on.

    Look back at the reasons the Kappas at Albany State listed: “He thinks he’s already a Kappa” <<— this is BIG BROTHER PET-PEEVE #1.

    "He ain't gonna pledge" — This kid could have walked in with a harem of concubines, it still would not have made up for his ENTITLED attitude that clearly didn't mesh with the brothers. Anyone that "ain't gonna pledge" is wasting the chapter's time.

    You ever wonder if maybe…juuuuuust maybe…discrimination had less to do with it than the guy's personality and demeanor?

    This applies to Black Frats, White Frats, Latin@ Frats, Asian frats, eating societies at Ivies…everyone runs into this universal college archetype and it only gets worse at more elite schools.

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