KA Psi may return

Ashlee Clark

When Mitchell Payne joined Kappa Alpha Psi at Western in spring 1970, members of the historically black fraternity had high expectations for themselves and their organization.

“We came through at a unique time when we were knocking down some color barriers,” said Payne, now the associate vice president for Finance and Administration at the University of Louisville. “We were about trying to stand proud on the shoulders of our ancestors.”

Payne said KA Psi contributed to the positive aspects of his life. And he said he was dismayed when the fraternity was suspended in 2001 after a hazing investigation.

“You always think it could never happen to you,” Payne said.

KA Psi’s suspension by the university will end in the spring. The group may return to the Hill if its national organization lifts sanctions against the chapter.

Western suspended KA Psi for three years, but the national fraternity suspended the chapter for five years and levied a $1,000 fine.

Charley Pride, coordinator of student activities, said the university would welcome KA Psi if the national fraternity rolled back its suspension.

There is a student effort to bring KA Psi to Western, but Pride didn’t have their names, he said.

Jerry Siegel, the polemarch, or regional president, of the South Central province of KA Psi, said no decision has been made about whether or not the chapter can return to the Hill.

“I have had some discussions with Western and some officials from the university about the possibility of reinstating the chapter potentially in the spring or not,” Siegel said. “There are still some conversations that need to be had.”

Discussions about the process of shortening KA Psi’s suspension began this past spring, Siegel said.

“I am one that generally likes to see our undergrad chapters functioning and active,” he said.

Siegel said the national fraternity’s grand board of directors will have the final decision on the remaining length of KA Psi’s suspension from Western.

Howard Bailey CQ, dean of Student Life, said the university gave KA Psi a shorter suspension because it was closer to the chapter and “would have a different perspective on what an appropriate time might be.”

Bailey, a KA Psi member, said the chapter had been on the Hill since May 1969.

If the national fraternity approves KA Psi’s return, the students trying to bring it back would have to provide paperwork, such as a constitution and bylaws, Pride said. It would also have to be approved by the National Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council to become a university organization.

The length of time it takes to have the fraternity reinstated depends on how long it takes for the paperwork to turned in, Pride said.

Bailey said there has always been some effort from students to bring the fraternity back, but it didn’t have much value until recently.

The university does not play a role in reorganizing the chapter, Pride said.

A report was filed Feb. 26, 2001 with the Student Life office claiming the chapter members caused psychological and physical abuse because of hazing, the Herald reported. The Herald said the chapter allowed members not in good standing with the university to participate in recruitment activities.

None of the students involved in the incident could be reached for comment.

“I was upset to find out that the hazing was taking place in the organization,” Bailey said.

Siegel, who presides over Kentucky, Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, said he will decide whether or not to request a reduction of the chapter’s suspension from the national grand board of directors this fall.

The KA Psi grand board of directors usually takes the advice of the polemarch, he said. The national fraternity will be researching the possibility of bringing them back, but there won’t be another formal investigation.

“Bottom line, if the climate still exists that led to the five-year suspension of the fraternity, the suspension will not be requested to be reduced,” Siegel said.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected]