A chapter of the historically Black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi is at the center of a controversy over the organization’s alleged failure to allow admission to an openly gay student. The issue has ignited conversations about Black fraternities and gay men once again.
In the spotlight is the Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi at the historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore. Sophomore Brian Stewart claims he was rejected by the fraternity to join because of his sexual orientation. Due to the allegations, the university has suspended the chapter until 2015.
Stewart, 20, said that he wanted to be a member of Kappa Alpha Psi in an effort to follow the footsteps of his mentor and pastor. Reports indicate Stewart even received a scholarship from the organization and served as a White House intern, working with first lady Michelle Obama.
However, upon his rejection, Stewart was informed by an unnamed source about a series of messages that were exchanged between members of the fraternity. The messages were laced with gay slurs about not permitting Stewart to join the fraternity.
“I couldn’t even be angry because I was so hurt,” he said in one report. “I didn’t know I was going to have no control … that my interview meant nothing, my achievements meant nothing, because they had already made up their minds.”
Stewart filed a complaint with the university, leading to an investigation. Morgan State officials said they didn’t take the complaint lightly and launched into an investigation.
“The Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha has been determined to have violated certain university regulations, procedures and policies,” the university said in a statement.
As a result, the chapter was put on probation at the school until 2015. This means Morgan State University’s chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi cannot register as an official organization, participate in university-sponsored events or host events on or off campus.
Two discussions have been held on campus over the issue. Stewart is reportedly no longer interested in being a member of the fraternity.
The national office of Kappa Alpha Psi has yet to respond on the issue. On its website, the organization outlines, “Kappa Alpha Psi is justly proud that the Constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership merely because of his color, creed or national origin.”
There is no mention about discrimination based on sexual orientation.