Arizona State frat suspended over ‘MLK black party’ with watermelon cups, gang signs


An Arizona State University fraternity was suspended because they held an “MLK Black Party” replete with flashing gang signs, sports jerseys, watermelon cups at the suburban Phoenix campus.

Officials at the Tempe, Arizona college said all Tau Kappa Epsilon’s chapter operations have been halted while they investigate an unregistered Greek event which offended scores of people on campus and the surrounding community.

Photos from the event show members and guests dressed in basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and even drinking from watermelon cups, reports CBS News and Gawker.  

“This isn’t appropriate at all and you really have no business dressing like this on a day that’s sort of revered for African-Americans,” said ASU senior Frank Hogan after seeing some of the pictures.

“I think this represents the ignorance that still exists today. This is just one example of the kind of things that occur here,” stated Kaajal Koranteng, also a senior.

A spokesman from the local chapter, who would only identify himself as Cole, would not comment on the party or investigation. Rather, he told CBS 5 News to contact the national organization for TKE.

“We are aware of the situation. We have been contacted and we have been in contact with the local chapter and the university,” explained Patrick Gleason, the director of Compliance and Housing for the Indianapolis-based national organization.

“I’ll be meeting with the school as well as the local chapter, as I said, to really flush out the details of this incident and get a full scope of what occurred,” he continued.

Gleason said he is traveling to Arizona to meet with school officials Tuesday.

The ASU TKE chapter had just been reinstated last month. They were previously suspended for inappropriate conduct, including a fight that injured one student.

“We have been in contact with the chapter and have been working with them to help them get back onto campus,” said Gleason in reference to the previous suspension.

It’s unclear whether this latest incident will lead to another suspension.

“They obviously need to be checked on what they’re doing, how they’re acting and how they’re presenting themselves. Not only as a fraternity of brothers, but as people,” said Hogan.

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

A military veteran and Buckeye State native, I've written for the likes of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Detroit Free Press. I'm a lover of words, photography, books, travel, animals and The Ohio State Buckeyes. #GoBucks

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