Kappa Chi History

If we, as Krappers, have nothing else, we have the history of our fraternity. We thought our history went back to the 1960's. In fact, we find it only started there. The history of seventh section, and therefore Kappa Chi, go back to 1875 .

Sigma Chi

Ka ppa Chi had it's origins in the National Fraternity Sigma Chi, whose Beta chapter opened with five charter members on March 1, 1875.  The chapter was suspended from 1892 to 1898 for "want of good fraternity material in the school."

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The fraternity was reactivated in 1899. In 1905, the fraternity took up residence in what is now known as Colonial Club (809 Beall Avenue). However, under the pressure of temperance and prohibition, pressure began to mount against the college's fraternities.

In Fraternities...social life is abnormally developed. In addition to frat parties, stag or otherwise, there are the nightly gatherings around the fire with tobacco and cards, which many times extend into the 'we sma' hours. Lessons are forgotten, training rules are broken and spiritual development is sadly neglected.

Wooster Voice, October 9, 1912

On February 13, 1913, the Board of Trustees voted 13-10 (with four members absent) to cease initiating new members. In three years, all national fraternities on the campus became extinct.

Kappa Kappa Kappa (KKK) - the "Tri-Kaps"

While the national fraternity moniker had been taken away by the College Administration, the loyalty and camaraderie of the members were not so easily taken. With regard to Kappa Chi's History, "seventh section" referred to the easternmost part of Kenarden Lodge, where three former Sigma Chi members - Paul Patton, Joseph Hamilton, and Charles Starrett - resided.

Kenarden Lodge in 1916: The building was divided into "sections," and the easternmost section was "seventh section."

The former camaraderie shared between these individuals, as well as other former members of fraternities, sparked a gradual and inevitable increase in group social activities. The college administration was slow to give up organized social events: the 1920's saw nothing more allowed than activities such as square dances. However, they did allow informal "boarding clubs" to exist. Eventually, however, the administration began to relax it's restrictions, and formal "sections" became listed in the colleges "Index" magazine. The initial emphasis was on competition between sections in such activities as intramural sports; however, within a few years, the sections started taking on the appearance of national fraternities, initiating pledges, holding meetings, and assuming Greek Letters.

Eventually, the members of the "seventh section" took on the Greek name "Kappa Kappa Kappa," also known as the "Tri-Kaps." The times were particularly spirited, as told by Stan Morse, Kappa Kappa Kappa, 1945:
I’ll never forget 1943 and the big Seventh Section (Kappa Kappa Kappa at the time) formal dance. Oscar Schrader ’43 was working to book bands and he learned of the availability of the one and only Bunny Berrigan Orchestra for a Friday night. Oscar was able to book them – I believe for a total of $300. Seventh Section got the OK to hold the dance in Severance Gym. Using a little ingenuity, and recognizing the tremendous popularity of Berrigan (undoubtedly the most outstanding trumpeter in the world at that time), we sold tickets for observation only for the balcony (the indoor track) for 25 cents. The balcony was mobbed. Seventh Section members had the gym floor to themselves as they danced to Berrigan and his orchestra. He sung his legendary, "I Can’t Get Started With You" twice.

Stan Morse , class of 1945.  from Wooster Magazine, Ebert Hall, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691, FALL, 2003 edition
And from Richard Kellner , 1963:
Kappa Chi had it's origins in the 1920's as Sigma Chi, when national fraternities were permitted at Wooster.  The nationals were later disbanded and replaced by their successor social clubs; actually, local fraternities.  Ours became 7th Section, "The Pride of the Hill."  Our pin was the white cross of Sigma Chi, but with three K's on the cross....My years at Wooster, the years 1959-1963, were outstanding ones for 7th Section (Kappa Kappa Kappa, or "The Tri-Caps" as we were known then).  Housed in Kenarden Lodge in the days when the doors opened in to 7 vertical "sections," the "Seventhians" were headquartered in the last doorway heading east toward Douglass Hall (no Bissman yet). We literally were the 7th Section of the building.  There was an 8th Section, but it was located in an off-campus house as there was no more room in Kenarden Lodge.

I never lived in Seventh Section at Kenarden but I spent time there every day.  The Seventh Section TV (black and white in my era) was in the 1st floor rec room and I remember a day we were visited by a reporter from Life Magazine while watching President John F. Kennedy address the nation on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Wow - - what a lesson in Political Science that was.

The Tri-Caps achieved distinction on campus by bringing to life our credo which encouraged excellence in social, academic and athletic pursuits.  In the early 60's , Tri-Kaps success was measured in the fraternity's honors - - including often having the highest grade point average among the sections - winning the intramural championships in Football, Basketball and Softball more often than not.  During my years ('59-'63), Seventh Section was the intramural football powerhouse losing only one game (that's the memory, at least) in those years.  And, any 7th Section social event was a highlight on campus, an invitation to which was coveted by the women of Woo U.  The Tri Kaps had the ability to transform the old Severance Gymnasium into a wonderland for the amazement and delight of all.  I learned much as a Tri Kap; not least of which is the importance of achieving balance in your life while doing your best at whatever you're doing.  The Tri Kaps were a proud bunch who worked hard, played hard and achieved much in the world of Wooster and beyond.  We were a fraternity in every sense. I loved my years at Wooster and the best part of those years had much to do with the fellowship and fraternity of Seventh Section.

One tidbit of a story - - Hell week or Pledge Week in my era; 1959-1963.  The Tri Kaps believed that Hellweek was the opportunity for pledges to come together as a unit and earn the honor of membership in 7th Section. Our attitude was positive.  For a pledge, the process was made a challenge and it was absolutely forbidden to harm a pledge.  Not that the pledges did not face challenges!  Oh, they were put to the test, but at the end of the process were proud of their transformation into Seventhians.  One of the challenges -- to successfully say the "spiel" every day during hell week on the mandatory visit to Seventh Section.  With the "actives" hollering in the background, each pledge had to repeat from memory and without error the following "spiel":
[spiel removed by webmaster].
Exactly when the club was named Kappa Kappa Kappa is unknown, as is the reason why they chose this particular Greek identification.  (If anyone knows, please e-mail me with more information).  The shield was identical to that of Kappa Chi, except that the letter 'K' appeared on the top and right arms of the white cross.
One theory is that the group took the name of the now still existing National Fraternity founded in Dartmouth in 1842, but still retained the symbolism of the white cross of Sigma Chi.  There are other "Delta Kappa" fraternities that spawned from "Kappa Kappa Kappa" fraternities, as the "Delta" was taken to mean "three."
Kappa Chi (KX) - the "Krappers"
While clearly there was no intended association between the three K's in Kappa Kappa Kappa and that of the Ku Klux Klan, developing racial tensions in the 1960's, and social awareness of the same, eventually rendered the Greek letters distasteful, if not offensive.
Ex-Krapper Thomas Clavin explains:

Kappa Chi was adopted as the new name in the spring of '69 [Webmaster: I have Jan '68 as the year] as we all felt that KKK was looking pretty much totally inappropriate if you wanted to "pin" a girl (meaning seriously "going steady---as in think precursor to engagement) and the pin was a gold cross--that is a cross with KKK on it---as in Ku Klux Klan.  Like, what were they THINKING.  Since Sigma Chi was the original national affiliation, before the college agreed to ban national frats in the twenties, to go along with the conditions of some rich alum giving the school a lot of money, we all chose Kappa Chi to replace the old name.
Because of this state of affairs, the section was renamed briefly to "Kappa Sigma Chi", and eventually permanently to "Kappa Chi" on January 18, 1968.
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The section moved from Kenarden Lodge to the then newly-built Bissman Hall in 1966. This allowed more of the members of Kappa Chi, to live together in the same residence.
Bissman itself was divided into three sections, informally referred to as sixth, seventh, and eighth, going from south to north, respectively.  In the picture above, the walkway is entering the lobby of seventh section.

The nickname "Krappers" is clearly a reference to induction practices prior to the early 80's.  The fraternity was very successful in 70's when it won several traveling intramural championships, and in the 80's, when it's members were solidly identified with college baseball and basketball.



Death Knell
In 1982 the state of Ohio declared war on "hazing," which was defined as basically any act which could be taken as being demeaning to another individual.  An intensive cat-and-mouse game began between the administration and the fraternities.  Faculty "Observers" were sent in to monitor and intervene in rituals that had never been observed by anyone other than members and pledges.

For us members in the early 80's, it became clear that the Administration of the College of Wooster was intent on a long term eradication of sections.  Fraternity after fraternity began to fall, and those that survived were more akin to campus social clubs than true fraternities.
However, Kappa Chi survived this onslaught of persecution far longer than many of us could have imagined.  It wasn't until 1999, when a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct connected to alleged hazing activities, to which four members plead no contest, gave the Administration all the ammunition it desired to revoke, indefinitely, the charter of the Fraternity of Kappa Chi.

In Wikipedia, the section is listed as being unofficially active up until 2005.
For more information on Student Social Organizations at the College of Wooster, visit this link on Wikipedia.
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