PHOENIX (AP) — 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.
Alex Baker, a spokesman for the national fraternity organization, said the group does not condone racist or discriminatory behavior.
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 guests dressed in basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and holding watermelon-shaped cups.
The Rev. Jarrett Maupin, an Arizona civil rights activist, said the party antics were outrageous and offensive. He is calling on the school to expel all students involved and permanently ban the fraternity from affiliation with ASU.
Activists at an afternoon news conference also called on the university to require that all staff and students take diversity classes.
The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity was already on probation for an off-campus fight in 2012, according to ASU. The university did not provide additional details of the incident or disciplinary 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.