An Arizona State fraternity is under scrutiny this week after holding a so-called Martin Luther King Jr. party that featured hoodies, gang-themed clothing, watermelon-shaped beer cups and tasteless shenanigans, all of which have now resulted in the fraternity’s campus suspension, reports The Associated Press today via Fox News.
The local Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter hosted the party on Monday in commemoration of MLK, but the racist stereotypes and offensive costumes quickly exploded on social media, causing the university to immediately suspend the fraternity as they investigate the matter.
"We regard the behavior exhibited as completely outrageous, extraordinarily offensive and wholly unacceptable," said James Rund, ASU's senior vice president for Educational Outreach and Student Services. "This kind of behavior is not tolerated by the university, and we intend to take swift and immediate action. We just don't have room at the university to tolerate that kind of conduct."
The fraternity posted an apology of sorts, claiming that the actions of a few have tarnished the fraternity as a whole, which is over a century old and has about 257,000 members spread out over 291 chapters, according to TKE's website.
"It is with embarrassment and regret when a few individuals within our organization make decisions that do not align with the values and principles of Tau Kappa Epsilon," said fraternity spokesperson Alex Baker said in a statement.
Images quickly circulated on social media of partygoers with baggy pants, wearing basketball jerseys, bandanas and flashing gang signs. Photos carried hashtags such as “blackoutformlk” and “ihaveadream.” The majority of those seen in the photos were white.
"How can you not realize how stupid this is?" said 25-year-old ASU junior Cuyler Meade. "It's embarrassing if people look at ASU and think we're all like that."
Activists hastily called foul on ASU, demanding that the university revoke the fraternity’s charter outright and suspend or expel all students involved in the party.
Arizona civil rights activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin is calling on the school to expel all students involved and permanently ban the fraternity from affiliation with ASU.
"It was just a raucous, racist rally, and they used Dr. King's holiday as a mask for racial villainy and harassment," Maupin said Tuesday.
What are your thoughts on the frat's offensive party? Should be fraternity's charter be permanently revoked? Sound off below.