On Monday, NDSU was closed in observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As time has progressed, not only does MLK Day provide an opportunity to observe the struggles African Americans endured throughout U.S. history, but it has also evolved into a Day of Service.
A group of Arizona State University students do not seem to have the same outlook however. ASU’s fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon threw a MLK Day party – not in honor of MLK, but an extremely hateful and racist one.
Photos were uploaded to at least two different Instagram accounts including pictures of fraternity members and party attendees wearing baggy clothing, making gang signs and drinking out of cups made from watermelons. Letters resembling an American flag are visible in the background of one of the photos, spelling out the fraternity’s acronym, TKE.
If this isn’t controversial enough, the captions are what really pushed the posts over the edge.
“Happy MLK day homies… #hood”
“Ballin with the wildermuth wildboyz (and girl) #blackoutformlk #ihaveadream”
Black out for MLK? That’s definitely does not sound like an act of service.
All of the Instagram accounts have since been deleted or are unattainable through Instagram’s search feature (thank you, screen capture).
The fraternity has since been merely suspended, even though the fraternity was just reinstated after suspension in December 2012. A fight brought on the suspension with a rival fraternity, where TKE members left the rival frat member with a concussion and a broken jaw.
As part of the suspension, the ASU fraternity was not allowed to have parties.
The school scheduled meetings early this week to determine the fate of TKE. Sharon Keeler, an ASU spokeswoman, told media outlets they would be meeting with the national organization to determine further action.
The fraternity, at the very least, should be expelled. A suspension would be merely a slap on the wrist, and this type of action is much more serious than that.
No university should want its students to represent the school with acts like this. ASU should also deliver individual disciplinary action to the students that were directly involved.
It is disappointing to see how much ignorance citizens still have. Even more disappointing is that this type of ignorance is happening on college campuses, which are supposed to be educating the young people that will be the future of our country. People that receive higher education should be able to create a brighter future, not a future of hatred. It is appalling that people with even a bit of college education would think something this type of “party” is a good idea.
Although we may be making progress on equality, these types of events truly show that we have a long way to go in all aspects of equality and human rights. Racism should not be ignored, much less be poked fun at.
As many events do, this gives NDSU student organizations an opportunity to keep impressing and become even better. Student organizations really make a huge impact on the campus, in the community and sometimes, nationwide.
Is there a way we can respond to this to show that we will not tolerate this type of behavior on our campus?
Emma is a senior majoring in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @emmajheaton2.
In the article “ASU fraternity throws racist MLK party,” the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon of Arizona State University was referenced. The investigation statement released on Jan. 24 concluded the party was not an official fraternity event and was off campus. Only 16 of the 125 members were involved (the ASU Interfraternity Council guidelines for an official fraternity event is 30 people).
Only one watermelon cup was at the event and was brought by a party attendee who was not a member of TKE. According to the investigation statement, not all of the photos were from the night of the MLK party. The chapter officers who were at the party have resigned from their positions.
The Beta-XI chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon’s recogniation as a fraternity at ASU has been permanantly removed.
Revised 1/29/13 2:17 p.m.