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Morgan fraternity accused of rejecting gay student is put on probation until 2015

A fraternity chapter at Morgan State accused of discriminating against a student because he is gay has been placed on probation until fall 2015, university officials said Tuesday.

In late October, senior Brian Stewart filed a formal complaint with the university alleging that the chapter rejected him because he is gay, offering derogatory social media messages he said were sent between fraternity members as proof.

Morgan spokesman Jarrett Carter Sr. said a disciplinary panel investigating the complaint found that the Alpha Iota chapter violated university policies on discrimination. The probation means that Morgan's chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity cannot register as an official organization, participate in university-sponsored events or host events on or off campus.

"It's very rare to get a complaint like this from students against other students," Carter said. "It's not something that the university tolerates or takes lightly."

Stewart, 20, could not be reached for comment. Attempts to reach Morgan fraternity members as well as the national fraternity were unsuccessful.

Stewart, a former White House intern, has said that he dreamed of joining the fraternity because his mentor had been a member and was devastated when someone sent him the messages, which used a slur to describe his sexual orientation.

Carter said the disciplinary panel, made up of students, faculty and staff, reached its decision last week. Three students in the fraternity also faced judicial review, but Carter declined to comment on whether they had received discipline as individuals.

Since word broke on campus about Stewart's complaint, students at Morgan have held two campus-wide discussions about discrimination against gay people, drawing hundreds of participants.

"It's all a part of something we're going to continue to do just to make clear our expectations about tolerance and respect and support for one another," Carter said. "Overall, the students have been telling us that this is very surprising and out of the ordinary."

Stewart said in October that he thought Kappa Alpha Psi members would be impressed by his academic accomplishments, but he was rejected the day after his interview.

He said at the time that while he was no longer interested in joining the fraternity, he filed a complaint because he wanted to raise awareness.

"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 said.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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