An ASU fraternity was suspended following reports of a racist party. The “MLK Black Party” was hosted by members of Arizona State University’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. School officials have suspended the chapter’s operations pending investigation of the incident.
Photos taken at the party reveal students wearing basketball jerseys, sagging their pants, throwing up gang signs, and drinking from small watermelons. The photos were posted to Instagram and eventually went viral, sparking outrage.
Activist Reverend Jarrett Maupin was appalled by the students’ behavior:
“Just a day after the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., racism has reared its head at one of America’s largest universities.”
ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said the party did not take place on campus. She said the fraternity was on “social probation” which prohibited parties of any kind. The probation was related to a prior suspension.
Keeler said “it is unfortunate that a few misguided individuals held an offensive party at a time when ASU, the state and the nation are celebrating Dr. King’s achievements and legacy.” She also said the university “can and will” seek punishment for the individuals involved. Phoenix New Times reports that the university is unwilling to tolerate racist behavior.
In 2013, the fraternity was suspended for inappropriate conduct. As reported by KPHO News, the conduct included a brawl that resulted in at least one injury. Although the chapter was reinstated in December, their recent behavior has led to another suspension.
Local members of the TKE fraternity refused to comment about the racist party.
Patrick Gleason, Tau Kappa Epsilon’s director of Compliance and Housing, said he will meet with the local chapter to “flush out the details of [the] incident and get a full scope of what occurred.” Gleason will also meet with school officials to discuss the suspension.
Gleason acknowledges this is not the first time the fraternity has been in trouble. He said the national organization has been in contact with the local chapter. as “they obviously need to be checked on what they’re doing… how they’re acting.”
ASU students Frank Hogan and Kaajal Koranteng were both disgusted by the photos. Hogan said the party was not “appropriate at all.” Koranteng said the photos are an example of “the ignorance that still exists today… the kind of things that occur… “
The ASU fraternity remains under suspension following the racist party. However, it is unclear what kind of punishment the individual students will face.
[Image via Facebook]