Arizona State University frat suspended after using watermelon cups during MLK Day party

Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity is coming under fire for MLK party, and black activists are calling for students involved to be expelled.
By Evan Bleier  |  Jan. 21, 2014 at 1:01 PM
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Arizona State University administrators have suspended the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity after a party where attendees wore “hip-hop” fashion, threw up gang signs and drank from watermelon cups in an offensive attempt to supposedly honor Martin Luther King Jr.

The fraternity’s suspension comes after it had previously been placed on social probation and was not allowed to have parties.

“ASU has suspended chapter operations, can and will take additional action against the individuals involved, and is meeting with the national TKE organization today to take further action,” said ASU spokesperson Sharon Keeler.

“ASU has one of the most diverse student bodies of any major university in the country, and 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. The university will not tolerate this kind of behavior.”

Social media photos of the MLK Day party show partygoers wearing baggy basketball jerseys while drinking from hollowed-out watermelon cups and are accompanied by hashtags like “blackoutformlk” and “ihaveadream.”

"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 the America's largest universities," said local civil rights activist Reverend Jarrett Maupin. "There should be a zero tolerance policy for racism at ASU. Period.” Maupin wrote an email to ASU president Michael Crow saying any student involved in the party should be expelled.

An investigation into the party is ongoing.

[The Arizona Republic] [Phoenix New Times]

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