Kappa Alpha Psi gets new house

by Elizabeth Cook

For the first time at the University, a historically and predominately black fraternity has a house on fraternity row.

Theatre arts senior Anthony Brown, the campus relations chair for Kappa Alpha Psi, said the fraternity just returned to campus last fall after taking a five-year leave of absence due to low enrollment. Having a house is expected to increase membership, he said.

The fraternity currently has 15 members living in a house on the 1000 block of University Avenue.

While the fraternity is predominantly black, membership is not limited by race.

The fraternity does not discourage anyone from joining, Brown said.

Fred Thomas, the adviser for the chapter said he is excited for the fraternity and the University.

Thomas said that having this diversity will increase socialization within the community.

There has already been talk of collaborating with other fraternities to help with activities such as community service, Thomas said.

Both Thomas and Brown mentioned that members of other fraternities on campus have already come to see the new location, and that everyone was very excited to see Kappa Alpha Psi get the house.

“I think this will be great news for the University,” Thomas said.

Jerome Stewart, a marketing student and president of Kappa Alpha Psi, said having the house on fraternity row will be a great way to bridge the gap between predominately black fraternities and other fraternities, which are traditionally white.

“I think it will create a better understanding (between diverse groups),” Stewart said.

Stewart also said the house is a place for minorities to feel comfortable.

“The house provides a safe haven as a place to socialize,” Stewart said.

Chad Ellsworth, a student activities adviser at the University, said it was mostly financial issues that prevented a black fraternity house from landing on fraternity row until now.

There are nine national fraternities and sororities in the National Pan-Hellenic Council, a body made up of predominantly black organizations. As of last year, five were registered with the Student Activities Office. But these fraternities and sororities are much smaller, Ellsworth said.

When there are only five members, it doesn’t make sense to have your own house, he said.

Ellsworth said a Kappa Alpha Psi house will break down some of the images of fraternities and sororities being predominately white.

“I think they will be real great for the community and (will help) break down some of those stereotypes,” Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth also said that this will bring a lot of different options to the greek community.

Eric Butz, a member of Beta Theta Pi and the vice president of public relations for the Interfraternity Council, said he is excited about a Kappa Alpha Psi house.

Butz said it is great because it makes people reconsider stereotypes of fraternities and will increase diversity.

“They’re as greek as everyone else,” Butz said.

For those interested in becoming members of Kappa Alpha Psi, there will be an informational session at 6:11 p.m. on Sept 21 at the house. The reason for the odd time is that the fraternity was founded in 1911, Thomas said.

Interested students can attend the session in a shirt and tie, Thomas said.