ASU Frat Suspended After Racist MLK Party

Civil rights leaders say Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter should be expelled

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 22, 2014 6:28 AM CST

(Newser) – An Arizona State University fraternity that was already on probation has been suspended after a Martin Luther King Jr. Day party rife with racial stereotypes. Students wore basketball jerseys and what the Arizona Republic calls "stereotypical hip-hop clothes"; they posted on social media with hashtags like "blackoutformlk" and "ihaveadream." They drank from cups made of watermelon rinds. The ASU chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was on probation following an attack on a black member of a rival frat. Now, local civil-rights leaders want the chapter expelled, the Republic reports.

At a press conference, the Rev. Jarrett Maupin called the party "an assault on the black community and our student population at ASU." The university, he said, must "stop pretending it doesn’t have an issue with racism." ASU, which noted that the party was off-campus and not condoned by the school, had this to say, per KPHO: "ASU has one of the most diverse student bodies of any major university in the country, and it is unfortunate that a few misguided individuals held an offensive party." Meanwhile, the national organization of Tau Kappa Epsilon, which calls itself the biggest fraternity in the country, is investigating and offered an apology, notes BuzzFeed, which has pictures:

  • "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."

The Rev. Jarrett Maupin, center, an Arizona civil rights activist, speaks during a news conference in Phoenix, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, after the party.
The Rev. Jarrett Maupin, center, an Arizona civil rights activist, speaks during a news conference in Phoenix, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, after the party.   (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)
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