Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Arizona State University has been expelled after the organization held an “MLK Black Party” on the Dr. King holiday that was deemed “offensive.”
Students who attended the party posted photos on social media showing attendees wearing basketball jerseys, throwing up gang signs and drinking out of watermelons. The photos quickly spread and drew harsh criticism from civil rights leaders and many members of the black community.
According to USA Today, the university has released a statement saying that the school has revoked its recognition as a Greek organization on its campus and that the 65-year-old chapter is no longer affiliated with ASU.
The university’s president, Michael Crow, says that the students of Tau Kappa Epsilon violated four provisions the school’s code of conduct: engaging in discriminatory activities, violating alcohol rules, violating the terms of earlier disciplinary sanctions and off-campus conduct that may present a risk or danger.
“At ASU, students who violate these standards will be subject to disciplinary sanctions in order to promote their own personal development, to protect the university community, and to maintain order and stability on our campuses,” he said.
The school’s TKE chapter was previously suspended for inappropriate conduct and were reinstated on campus in December. Individual cases of the students involved in the more recent incident are still being investigated.
African-American students on ASU’s campus were particularly troubled by the news including those involved in the school’s minority organization such as the African-American Men of ASU, an organization fueled by a mission to expand growth, involvement and leadership among the university’s black men.
In a letter penned by AAMASU President Ja’han Jones, titled “To the brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity,” Jones questions the morals and motives of the those who participated in the “offensive” celebration.
“ I write, now, with no intent to reprimand, or defame, or scold, but to ask with the utmost sincerity: Why?” wrote Jones.
“I am concerned that your organization’s self-professed mission to “aid men in their mental, moral, and social development for life” eludes you with such heinous acts as your most recent “MLK Black Party”. I am concerned that your fraternal structure is transforming into an echo chamber for racism. And further, I am concerned that not a man stood among you brothers with the foresight to predict the shame such an event would heap upon your organization. Again, I must ask: ‘Why?’”
Alex Baker, spokesman for the national Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, issued a statement earlier this week and apologized for “any offensive actions that a few of our members might have participated in.”
“Tau Kappa Epsilon does not condone or support any actions by its members that would be defined as racist, discriminatory and/or offensive.”
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works