While the ACLU's Arizona chapter said the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity's Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend party, where attendees wore hip hop clothing, flashed gang signs and drank from a watermelon cup, was "ignorant and insensitive," the students should not be punished for speech protected by the First Amendment.
"Suspension or expulsion ... would be discipline and retaliation for what we believe is protected speech," Dan Pochoda, the ACLU's legal director, told the Arizona Republic.
Civil rights leaders have called on the school to expel students who attended the party,the Phoenix newspaper said.
School officials suspended the fraternity and were investigating who planned the party, which took place at a TKE member's off-campus home. They said members could face suspension or expulsion.