Lexington, VA (WLTX, AP) -- The executive council of the Kappa Alpha Order has forbidden members of its chapters across the country from wearing Confederate uniforms and "Old South" regalia during fraternity-sponsored events.
The decision comes after fraternity officials received complaints of insensitivity following an "Old South" parade at the University of Alabama that stopped at the house of Alpha Kappa Alpha members, a traditionally black sorority, during their 35th anniversary party. The chapter cancelled their "Old South" parade for this year, which was scheduled for this week.
The fraternity, which was founded in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, has never "prescribed nor recommended" to its members that they hold an "Old South" or "Dixie Ball," an event that was popularized during the 1920s where male participants wear Confederate soldier regalia and women wear "Southern Belle" dresses, heavily featured in films like 1939's "Gone With the Wind." An amendment to fraternity laws stated that the events were celebrated as they focused on "perpetuating the social attributes of courtesy, graciousness, and open hospitality," values they say were prominent when the fraternity was founded in 1865 Virginia.
"Old South" parades are still a staple on many Southern campuses, and fraternity officials ask that chapters that hold such events should ensure that they are "conducted with restraint and dignity and without displays of trappings and symbols which might be misinterpreted and objectionable to the general public."
Kappa Alpha was founded at Washington and Lee University -- a school partly named for the Confederate general -- and the fraternity calls him its "spiritual founder."