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The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Guide to

Protocol and Etiquette

(Revised by the Publicity and Publications Commission (April 1997)



To establish uniformity throughout the Fraternity as it relates to courtesies, etiquette, traditions and customs.


I.  Hierarchy of Recognition


A. Hierarchical Procedures

The general order of precedence shall be as follows:

  • Founder

  • Past Grand Polemarchs

  • Grand Polemarch

  • Senior Grand Vice Polemarch

  • Junior Grand Vice Polemarch

  • Grand Keeper of Records & Exchequer

  • Grand Board of Directors

  • Grand Historian

  • Grand Strategus

  • Grand Lt. Strategus

  • Grand Chapter Nominating Committee Chairman

  • Province Polemarchs

  • Executive Director

  • Assistant Executive Directors

  • General Counsel

  • Journal Editor

  • Awardees:

 1) Laurel Wreath Laureate(s) (most recent-alphabetical by year)

 2) Elder Watson Diggs Awardee(s) (most recent - alphabetical by year)

 3) Guy L. Grant Awardee(s) (most recent - alphabetical by year)

  • Grand Chapter Commission Chairmen

  • Grand Chapter Committee Chairmen

  • Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation President

  • Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation Executive Director

Once the general order of precedence has been established, subsequent speakers need not reiterate.


B. Manner of Greeting

Documented procedures of greeting Kappas have been established in other Fraternity publications. There is need to re-emphasize their appropriateness.


         The acceptable greeting is Brother (followed by name last).
1. References to all Kappamen:

2. Addressing Hierarchy:
The acceptable greeting for officers is as follows:

a. Brother Grand Polemarch (or other office name)

b. Brother Williams

Never use "Brother Pole" when referring to the Polemarch

3. Correspondence to the Membership

Communication is something that must be done at all levels of the Fraternity. All brothers are expected to give prompt replies to correspondence and use correct punctuation, spelling and grammar.

When communicating with officers, and/or brothers, the correct entry is "Brother Mayshack." Do not abbreviate "Brother" nor use "Brother" on the envelope. Examples:

Inside letter address
Brother John L. Jones
238 Congress Street
Atlanta, GA 20201


Outside letter address
Mr. John L. Jones
238 Congress Street
Atlanta, GA 3030

"Brother" should never be abbreviated or used on the envelope.


All correspondence written by one brother to another should have the following closing:

Yours in the Bond,

Use the lower case "b" for "brother" without a name (as used in writing a sentence). Example:

The brothers in the chapter are going to . . .

Use capital "B" for "Brother" followed by a name.


Brother Bert C. Piggott, Jr.
Brother Piggott

Likewise, use lower case "c" for "chapter" unless proceeded by the designated chapter name. Example:

The chapter will get new jackets, or Alpha Chapter will get new jackets.

Written examples of chapter designation are as follows:

Alpha Gamma Chapter at Virginia Union University
Charleston (SC) Alumni Chapter

Correspondence inviting individuals to speak or attend a function should list the nature and purpose of the event (open or closed), number of guest or members, date, place and time. Advise the proper attire. Request confirmation early enough before the affair to determine time and transportation. An understanding of assumption of expenses should be agreed upon at an early stage.

A "Thank You" letter follows a guest speaker's appearance.


C. Decorum

Kappamen must at all times exemplify brotherhood, achievement and self-discipline. We are measured collectively by our individual behavior and mannerisms.


II. Formal And Informal Chapter Visits


The Fraternity is well known for fraternization and fellowship. It follows that brothers will visit other brothers in different locations, whether in the formal setting or a chapter meeting or otherwise. While courteous and cordial treatment is extended to all visitors, a person's status as a VIP, or one's status within the Fraternity, may require a different level of recognition. It is expected that special treatments are accorded officers of the Grand Chapter, Past Grand Polemarchs, officers of the Province, recipients of the Fraternity awards such as the Laurel Wreath, Elder W. Diggs or the Guy L. Grant, and anyone else considered VIPs.


It is not the intent of this Guide to outline specifically what should be done on the occasion of a visit by the aforementioned brothers. There are, nevertheless, certain minimum standards of protocol to be observed. The level of hospitality should be gauged by the purpose of the visit.


If a person has been invited as a special guest for a chapter function, special care shall be taken to determine his travel arrangements, time of arrival/departure. Arrangements should be made to meet and transport the person to his lodging and accommodations. If travel or other expenses are to be reimbursed, these arrangements should be fully understood in advance.

It is possible that some brothers in the categories mentioned above will not want or accept any special treatment. Their wishes should be respected. The chapter should know what courtesies should be extended and make them available.


A. Special Invited Guests

Special invited guests should be accorded all of the hospitality and courtesies generally expected to be offered a guest. This includes seeing that travel and housing accommodations are made, special needs (such as special diet) are provided for, and other measures to provide for their personal comfort. If the special guest is anyone other than an officer of the Fraternity traveling at Fraternity expense, there should be clarification as to who pays for housing and travel. There should be an advance determination if they expect an honorarium. If no honorarium is given, a gift of nominal value, a plaque or other memento, may be considered in good taste. In some instances, it is appropriate to determine if the guest has a special preference, if so, it may be made available upon arrival.


B. Official Visits

For formal visits by the Grand Polemarch, the Province Polemarch or their designee, the host chapter may extend an invitation or schedule a meeting at the call of the Grand Polemarch or the Province Polemarch. In such instances, the official representative should be consulted regarding his travel plans and accommodations needed. If the nature of the visit has been determined in advance, the necessary records and reports should be available for the meeting.


C. Visiting Brothers at Chapter Meetings

When a brother is visiting another chapter, even though it is not required, it is appropriated to give advance notice of one's intention to visit the chapter. During the visit, the brother should realize that it is a visit, and should refrain from inserting himself in the deliberations of the chapter's business unless invited to do so. Chapters should verify a brother's status prior to granting chapter membership. No person should be admitted to any chapter meeting without proper credentials or membership verification.


D. Casual Visits by Brothers

It is not uncommon for brothers to travel with their Journal and call chapter officers once they reach a city. When a brother accepts an office, he accepts the probability that he may be called from time to time by brothers with whom he is not familiar. Likewise, the traveling brother must understand that membership in the Fraternity is not a license to invade another's privacy.


III. Official Dress Code


All members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity are expected to be attired befitting the occasion. On formal Fraternity observances: Founders' Day Dinner, Grand Chapter Banquet & Ball, Province Banquet & Ball, Chapter Banquet & Ball, the officially approved mode of dress is a tuxedo.

Brothers attending meetings with Ritualistic Openings should be attired in strict conformance to the Ritual of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, i.e., the appropriate attire is jacket and tie, thus providing a sense of correctness in keeping with the occasion.


IV. Official Fraternity Observances


A. Closed Banquets

All closed banquets are formal and formal attire is expected. In order to facilitate the proper order of the head table(s) and in preparation for entrance into the banquet hall, seating in the assembly room should be clearly marked with the name of each brother to be seated at the head table. The processional will be in the same order in which they are seated at the head table(s). All brothers stand and remain standing during the processional.

A candelabra was designed for Grand Chapter Banquets expressly for use in the salute to the Founders. The lighting of the Candelabra, from left to right, is in the order in which the Founders' names are called.


B. Closed Balls

Seats should be reserved for all persons who are participants in the processional preceding the Closed Ball.

At the Grand Chapter Closed Ball, the Executive Director or his designee will announce the categories of members in the processional prior to the official beginning of the event. The order of the processional shall be as follows:

1. Past Grand Polemarch

2. Grand Chapter Officers (excluding the Grand Polemarch)

4. Laurel Wreath Laureates (current year only)

5. Elder Watson Diggs Awardees (current year only)

6. Guy L. Grand Awardees (current year only)

7. General Conclave Planning Committee Chairman

8. Local Chapter Polemarch

9. The Grand Polemarch


C. Founders' Day

This is an observance that should be held annually by every chapter or clusters of chapters as nearly as possible to the founding date of the Fraternity. The celebration is an observance and should appropriately dignify and commemorate this most special day in our history.

Founders' Day Banquets should be formal and closed to all but members with all amenities as quoted elsewhere in this Guide. Any other Founders' Day activity should be in keeping with the spirit of the occasion.


D. Public Meetings

Public Meetings are considered an appropriate event for a Grand Chapter Meeting or a Province Council. It is during these meetings when city and other government officials and organizations are available to officially welcome delegates and guests and otherwise extend the hospitality of the City. The Public Meeting is one opportunity where the public has the opportunity to observe the Fraternity during what should be its' finest hour. Awards are made to members and non-members. The Grand Chapter Public Meeting is the occasion for conferring the Laurel Wreath Award.

The program should move expeditiously. The Master of Ceremonies and speakers should be selected with great care and should be fully aware of their assignment, and allotted time. Members should be properly attired and orderly, as this is an occasion for the best that the Fraternity has to offer.


E. The Loving Cup

The Loving Cup Ceremony was traditionally the most sacred ceremony conducted by the Fraternity. Though functionally replaced by the Oath of Rededication as the universally recognized element in the authorized celebrations of the Fraternity, the Loving Cup retains a cherished place in the lore of the Fraternity and as such, is still observed occasionally at the local level.


F. Funeral Services and Public Notice

The guidelines are specific in the Ritual. If the service is held in a religious institution, the arrangements should acknowledge the formal structure of the institution as articulated by its spiritual leader. The ceremony as set forth in the Ritual should be scrupulously observed.

The passing of a brother should be announced publicly through and by whatever means available, with an official notice to the International Headquarters. Media channels can be used usually with good effect. Members of the chapter in which the deceased brother had membership should be notified immediately with the added caution that the Polemarch is among the first informed.


If the deceased brother was holding office at the time of his death, or had ever held an elected International or Province office, and/or had been the recipient of a major honor bestowed by the Fraternity, International Headquarters should be notified immediately of his passing.


V. Courtesies


Courtesies are extended to all members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, but there are circumstances where special courtesies are required.

All brothers are to stand when the Grand Polemarch makes initial entry into any formal gathering of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and remain standing until otherwise indicated by the Grand Polemarch. Upon entering, the Grand Polemarch is accorded the privilege of addressing the meeting.


Brothers should stand upon the recognition of the presence of or the entrance of a Past Grand Polemarch and seated only after the Past Grand Polemarch is seated.

Presiding officers of any Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity meeting should always recognize Fraternity Dignitaries-Past Grand Polemarchs, Grand Chapter Officers, Executive Director, Province Polemarch, Laurel Wreath Laureates, Elder W. Diggs Awardees, Guy L. Grant Awardees and William L. Crump History Awardees.


The phrase "speech-short!" is a discourtesy and it should never be voiced.

Members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity are expected to be conscious of their social behavior and be fully aware that a brother's decorum, dress, manners, and speech are traits and criteria the public uses as a means by which to judge both the Fraternity and individual brothers.


Families of deceased brothers should receive a visit from the chapter Polemarch to express sympathy and to offer his and the chapter's condolences and assistance. If brothers desire to attend funerals as a group, it should be confirmed by the family or those responsible for the funeral arrangements. Pallbearers and any other assistance may be provided as requested.

The family of a deceased brother who was not financial or was unknown to the chapter membership may request a Fraternal service. The membership status should be verified and the request granted. This is in recognition of the eternal bond established through membership in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.


VI. Fraternity Jewelry and Paraphernalia


The paraphernalia of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity consists of the Coat-of-Arms and such official jewelry as may be sanctioned by the Grand Chapter. The Coat-of-Arms is more fully described in the Ritual. An official picture of the Coat-of-Arms is found on the front of this Guide. Reproductions for programs should be made from this official likeness.


The Fraternity Badge - Each member receives a badge as part of his initiation fee and is to be worn only by members of the Fraternity. The official badge is to be made only by the Official Fraternity Jeweler. The badge is to be worn over the heart, only on a shirt (with a tie), a formal shirt with tuxedo, or vest and never on the lapel of the coat. The badge may be draped for a period of 30 days as a sign of mourning for a deceased member. (Draping: the upper half of the badge is wrapped with black thread.)


The Life Membership Pin is provided to members when they have completed payment to the Life Membership (LM) program. The pin is worn on the left lapel of the jacket or sportcoat in or where the slit for a boutonniere would be provided. It is worn only by Life Members. The pin may also be draped as a sign of mourning. (Draping: the pin is centered on an inch square swatch of black cloth and attached to the lapel in the aforementioned manner.)


The Grand Polemarch's Badge is a specially designed badge to be worn by only the Grand Polemarch during his tenure of office. It shall be passed on to his successor.


The Past Grand Polemarch's Badge is given to each Grand Polemarch upon termination of his tenure as Grand Polemarch, and this badge is worn only by those who have served as Grand Polemarch.

The Laurel Wreath Pin is worn only by those brothers upon whom the Laurel Wreath Award has been bestowed.

The Elder Watson Diggs Medallion is worn only by Elder Watson Diggs Awardees.

The Guy L. Grant Medallion is worn only by Guy L. Grant Awardees.

The Province Polemarch's Badge is worn only by a sitting Province Polemarch or one who has served as Province Polemarch. The Badge is to be worn to the immediate left of the Fraternity badge.

The William L. Crump History Medallion is worn on the left pocket of the jacket or sportcoat by winners of the history award competition.

The Sweetheart Pin is worn by the wives or the sweethearts of members of the Fraternity.


VII. Fraternity Songs


Each chapter should have the official Song Book and album of Fraternity songs in its achieves. When singing the Kappa Alpha Psi Hymn, brothers always stand with hands in front of their bodies, right over left. There is no swaying during the singing of the Hymn. Nothing shall be permitted at any time to detract from proper decorum when singing the Hymn.


Members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity should, at all times, reflect good manners and good taste. There have been instances where songs have been rendered that are not sanctioned. Members should refrain from using vulgar and profane words and gestures when singing songs associated with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. These songs are not in keeping with what was intended by our Founders, and members should at all times refrain from songs that are not in good taste or may otherwise be offensive to the casual observer.


VIII. Silhouettes


Although not holding a formal place in the structure of the Fraternity, the Silhouettes are universally recognized as a valuable adjunct. Accordingly, they must be recognized as such and extended those designated amenities that they deserve. Silhouette membership is determined by local preferences with the regulations of the Fraternity.


IX. Closed Banquet Seating


Top Tier

1. Chaplain

2. Polemarch-Host Chapter

3. Chairman-Host Chapter

4. Executive Director

5. Introducer of Speaker

6. Grand Board of Directors

7. Grand Board of Directors

8. Grand Board of Directors

9. Grand Board of Directors

10. Grand Board of Directors

11. Grand Board of Directors

12. Grand Board of Directors

13. Master of Ceremonies


Podium Area

14. Memorial To Founders*

15. Grand Polemarch

16. Speaker

17. Sr. Grand Vice Polemarch

18. Jr. Grand Vice Polemarch

19. Grand Keeper of Records & Exchequer

20. Grand Strategus

21. Grant Lt. Strategus

22. Past Grand Polemarch

23. Past Grand Polemarch

24. Past Grand Polemarch

25. Past Grand Polemarch

26. Past Grand Polemarch

27. Grand Historian

28. General Counsel

29. Nom. Committee Chair

30. Conclave Planning Committee Chair


Lower Tier

1. Province Polemarch

2. Province Polemarch

3. Province Polemarch

4. Province Polemarch

5. Province Polemarch

6. Province Polemarch

7. Province Polemarch

8. Province Polemarch

9. Province Polemarch

10. Province Polemarch

11. Province Polemarch

12. Province Polemarch

13. Laurel Wreath Recipient

14. Laurel Wreath Recipient

15. Assistant Executive Director

16. Assistant Executive Director

17. Guy L. Grant Awardee

18. Guy L. Grant Awardee

19. Guy L. Grant Awardee

20. Guy L. Grant Awardee

21. Elder Watson Diggs Awardee

22. Elder Watson Diggs Awardee

23. Elder Watson Diggs Awardee

24. Elder Watson Diggs Awardee

25. Elder Watson Diggs Awardee

26. Commission Chairmen

27. Commission Chairmen

28. Commission Chairmen

29. Commission Chairmen

30. Journal Editor

*Grand Chapter Closed Banquet Only

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