Arizona State University has suspended one of its fraternities following a party that some are calling racist. Somehow, none of the students of the ASU chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon had the good sense to know that hosting their “MLK Black Party” was a seriously bad idea.
Few would be upset about an event that celebrated civil right leader Martin Luther King Jr. However, the way in which these ASU students chose to celebrate sparked nationwide outrage. On Sunday, students at the frat party dressed up in basketball jerseys and offensive costumes that stereotype African Americans. They also drank from hollowed out watermelons, threw up gang signs and posted Twitter hashtags like “Ihaveadream” and “blackoutformlk.”
A statement from ASU’s senior vice president for student services, James Rund read: “We regard the behavior exhibited as completely outrageous, extraordinarily offensive and wholly unacceptable. This kind of behavior is not tolerated by the university, and we intend to take swift and immediate action”
Local civil rights groups are now demanding that the chapter be expelled, according to a report by ABC. National fraternity organization spokesman, Alex Baker, said the group does not condone such behaviors nor is it an advocate for racism.
The university noted that the party was held outside campus; hence not condoned by the institution. According to the University’s statement, it is “unfortunate that a few misguided individuals held an offensive party.”
The fraternity has issued an apology: “We apologize for any offensive actions that a few of our members might have participated in. We can assure all other parties that these actions do not represent Tau Kappa Epsilon and the beliefs of love, charity, and esteem that we have stood by for 115 years.”
Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a civil rights activist, said the school should take responsibility and expel the students involved. Activists also asked the university to consider offering diversity classes to all students and staff.
ASU has not yet provided further details about the incident or actions it has taken against the offenders.
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