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ASU MLK party: Fraternity suspended, racist stereotypes at MLK event examined

Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Photo
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

An ASU MLK party resulted in the entire fraternity being suspended this week due to allegations of racist stereotypes and offensive outfits being present during the festivities. School officials from Arizona State University confirmed that authorities will be examining an “objectionable” celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. MSN News confirms this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, that the fraternity in question is the school’s local Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter.

The ASU MLK party in Phoenix was one this Monday that was accused of being full of disrespect toward Martin Luther King Jr., rather than in celebration of the national holiday. Due to these allegations, Arizona State University has “suspended for an indeterminate amount of time” most operations for the Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter. Sources say that a number of insensitive costumes and racist stereotypes were present at the event, while University officials have released a statement saying that they will be meeting this week with representatives from the university to examine the party’s contents that took place this weekend.

"The party TKE held last weekend was not held on campus and was not a sanctioned university event. Because of the latest incident, ASU has suspended chapter operations (and) can and will take additional action against the individuals involved," Sharon Keeler, an ASU spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

A spokesman for the national fraternity organization — student Alex Baker — affirmed that following the bigoted ASU MLK party claims, local representatives will be planning to sit down with university officials in order to discuss these allegations and talk over what exactly happened.

"Tau Kappa Epsilon does not condone or support any actions by its members that would be defined as racist, discriminatory, and/or offensive," Baker said in a statement. "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."

A number of photos from the Martin Luther King Jr. party, however, seem to suggest otherwise. Quite a few pictures that have leaked onto social media sites reveal guests at the fraternity event wearing oversized basketball jerseys, holding cups in the shapes of watermelons, and even flashing gang signs at the cameras.

"I think this represents the ignorance that still exists today. This is just one example of the kind of things that occur here," Kaajal Koranteng, an ASU senior, told the TV station.

Until these issues are fully examined, operations for the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity are thus suspended.

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