25 Years and Still Making Moves

The Orion Newspaper

     African-American Fraternity Celebrates 25 Years on CSU, Chico Campus The Kappa Psi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, California State University, Chico's oldest African-American fraternity, celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend.

      Many of the 87 past and current Kappa Psi chapter members will gather in Chico Oct. 21 to renew old acquaintances and discuss the fraternity's future.

      The Kappa Psi chapter was formed by 13 CSU, Chico students and received its charter Oct. 23, 1981. CSU, Chico sophomore Malcolm McLemore, Kappa Psi officer, said the fraternity is proud of the fact that 75 percent of members have graduated from CSU, Chico, two members have earned doctorates with three more currently in progress, and 15 members have completed master's degrees. He said the chapter emphasizes academic achievement and hosts a "Kappa-demics" group, where members gather to study and older members mentor younger members.

      Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., established at Indiana University in 1911, is one of the country's oldest and most prominent African-American fraternities. Headquartered in Philadelphia, it has more than 105,000 members with 600 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state, and international chapters in the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, Japan, the West Indies and South Africa.

      Some of the well known Kappa Alpha Psi alumni include former L.A. Mayor Thomas Bradley, attorney Johnnie Cochran, NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, tennis legend Arthur Ashe, entertainers Montell Jordan and Cedric the Entertainer and 1996/2000 Olympian Jon Drummond.

      Over the past 25 years, CSU, Chico's Kappa Psi Chapter has had members serve in leadership positions in the Associated Students and campus organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Pan African Union, the Men of Honor, as well as current and past Wildcat Athletics programs such as wrestling, track, basketball and football.

      The chapter has also sponsored a number of community service events as well as the annual Achievement Awards Banquet, which is designed to recognize the academic excellence by African American students in their chosen field of study. Last spring, Kappa Psi took a lead role in a fund-raising effort that netted $4,000 for a planned monument for Martin Luther King, Jr. in Chico's Community Park.

      McLemore said Kappa Psi held a clothing drive for United Way this fall, collecting 20 large bags and four bins of clothes for those in need. He said the fraternity has a canned food drive planned to take place before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

      Kappa Psi chapter founding member James Dorsey, CSU, Chico alumnus and director of national program development for the University of California System, didn't imagine in 1981 that the fraternity would still be around 25 years later. "I never thought it would happen. Before we started the chapter, we were wondering what we could do for our generation, and for eight to 10 years after that."

      Dorsey said the fraternity was always more than just a social organization. "Early on, the focus was not just social, but academic success," he said. "There was peer pressure to perform academically. At first, for some, just getting into college was it - but we encouraged each other to succeed beyond that. Many of the African-Americans that graduated from Chico were part of this organization."

      Dorsey said he enjoys the ever-widening circle of people that are part of Kappa Psi. "I'm particularly proud of the atmosphere - wives, children, now grandchildren. It's a family environment when we see each other or get together."

Brother Daghe Twirlin' the Kappa Kane

Campus sets sights on cross-cultural center

The Orion Newspaper

Associated Students and faculty have plans to freshen up the multicultural center at Chico State.

      Student interns and A.S. officers toured six Southern California campuses from Sept. 13 to Sept. 15 to get new inspiration for remodeling Chico State's current Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies.

      "We are getting ready to have space on campus and are having students help us focus on what they'd like to see in a multicultural center," said Charles Carter, associate director for leadership programs.

      Carter is coordinating the collaboration between students and faculty.

      "The centers we visited were just cool places to hang out," said Amber Harris, commissioner of multicultural affairs.

      She liked that many of the multicultural centers were more like lounges and had an inviting atmosphere for students to spend time, she said. Others had libraries containing resources about race and multiculturalism, which encourage students to learn from each other.

     Chico State's current multicultural center could benefit from following in those centers' footsteps, she said.

     "Right now it's just a space," she said. "It does nothing to provide for unrepresented students."

     The center has not been utilized as well as it could be, but that should change with its remodel, she said.

     "We're calling it the Cross-Cultural Center," said Osazee Edebiri, A.S. president.

      The term was chosen to draw sharper focus to how minority students can better interact with the mainstream population, said Jon Slaughter, A.S. activity fee director.

      The center will potentially relocate to the bottom of Meriam Library next to the current Educational Opportunity Program and Career Placement Center. The move would take place next summer, Slaughter said.

      There is also discussion about possibly building a completely new center, he said. It would be partially funded by an increase in student fees, which would need to be voted on and approved by the student body.

      A financial commitment has already been made to develop a new center, Slaughter said. The Multicultural Affairs Council, the Activity Fee Council, and the Bell Memorial Student Union have pledged $40,000 to the remodeling, Slaughter said.

      "We are in a very temporary situation," Carter said. "Physically, we will only be in the existing multicultural center until May."

      Although plans to move the center will not begin until next year, Harris anticipates leading a multicultural student retreat next semester.

     "Hopefully, this will jump-start the changes we want to see next year," she said. "We want students of all ethnicities to learn from each other."

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