An Arizona State University fraternity's operations have been suspended following accusations that the local Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter hosted a distasteful party in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, replete with racist stereotypes and offensive costumes. University officials had planned to meet Tuesday with fraternity representatives regarding the off-campus party over the weekend. Pictures from the party made their way onto social media websites, depicting guest dressed in basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and holding watermelon-shaped cups. University officials released the following statement,
"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.
Founded in 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., the fraternity has about 257,000 members at 291 chapters and colonies across the United States and Canada, according to its website. In 2012, the University of Arizona stripped its local chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon of recognition after an investigation showed multiple instances of dangerous hazing. Tau Kappa Epsilon spokesman Alex Baker released the following statement,
"We [Tau Kappa Epsilon] do not condone racist or discriminatory behavior. 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," Baker said in a statement.
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Stephen "TheeBlackSocialite" Hale