TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State University announced Thursday that it is severing ties with a fraternity after the chapter hosted a distasteful party in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, replete with racist stereotypes and offensive costumes.
The school said in a statement that it has notified Tau Kappa Epsilon its recognition as a fraternity chapter at ASU has been permanently revoked.
Revoking recognition means the 65-year-old local chapter is no longer affiliated with ASU, the group won’t be listed on the university’s website and it cannot recruit members or hold on-campus meetings.
Tau Kappa Epsilon was placed on probation in 2012 and then suspended for hosting a Jan. 19 party that depicting racial stereotypes drew harsh criticism from civil-rights leaders who demanded the university expel the fraternity.
University officials said they still are investigating the event and deciding how to handle individual cases of student discipline.
Alex Baker, a spokesman for the national fraternity organization, said Tau Kappa Epsilon has received the university’s findings and planned to release the results of its own investigation shortly.
Baker previously said the group does not condone racist or discriminatory behavior.
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 called for the school to expel all students involved and permanently ban the fraternity from affiliation with ASU.
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.