Arizona State University administrators have permanently revoked the recognition of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) as a fraternity, due to its "MLK Black Party" earlier this week.
"This action has been taken after TKE was placed on probation in 2012," a statement from the University says. "TKE was suspended January 20, 2014 for hosting an unregistered, off-campus event January 19, 2014 that encouraged a racially-insensitive theme and created an environment conducive to underage consumption of alcohol."
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Photos on a social media website showed three of the students involved in the party dressed in basketball jerseys and bandanas, throwing up gang signs, and drinking out of a hollowed-out watermelon. The photos outraged local black leaders, and several black ASU students.
Many were calling for the fraternity to be expelled, and for individual students to be disciplined, while some people maintained that the students shouldn't be disciplined on First Amendment grounds.
"ASU is continuing to investigate the actions of individual fraternity members and other students who may have attended the party under the ASU Student Code of Conduct," the ASU statement continues. "Upon conclusion of that investigation, ASU will take additional action as may be appropriate under ASU and Arizona Board of Regents policies."
Although the party wasn't sanctioned by ASU, nor was it held on campus, it's ASU's position that University rules still apply, as a University spokeswoman laid out the specific violations:
• 5-308 F-3 Violating the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed for an earlier violation of the Student Code of Conduct or other Board of university rules
• 5-308 F-15 Violation of the Board or university rules or applicable laws governing alcohol, including consumption, distribution, unauthorized sale, or possession of alcoholic beverages
• 5-308 F-17 Off-campus conduct that a reasonable person would believe may present a risk or danger to the health, safety or security of the Board or university community or to the safety or security of the Board or university property
• 5-308 F-21 Engaging in discriminatory activities, including harassment and retaliation, as prohibited by applicable law or university policy
"ASU has one of the most diverse student bodies of any major university in the country, and it is unfortunate that a few individuals held an offensive party at a time when ASU, the state and the nation were celebrating Dr. King's achievements and legacy," the University's statement says.
Read ASU president Michael Crow's reaction on the next page:
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Along with the University's statement on the revocation, ASU president Michael Crow released a statement on the situation.
Here's that statement in its entirety:
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in the Morehouse College campus newspaper in 1947: "We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." This sentiment, which Dr. King so eloquently articulated as a young man based upon his personal experience in college, is reflected today in the ASU Student Code of Conduct:
"The aim of education is the intellectual, personal, social, and ethical development of the individual. The educational process is ideally conducted in an environment that encourages reasoned discourse, intellectual honesty, openness to constructive change, and respect for the rights of all individuals. Self-discipline and a respect for the rights of others in the university community are necessary for the fulfillment of such goals. The Student Code of Conduct is designed to promote this environment at each of the state universities."
In evolving a new model for inclusive 21st century higher education, Arizona State University takes to heart its essential responsibilities to educate young adults and to support their character development as part of the learning process. Teaching and nurturing integrity within our diverse university community is a significantly complex challenge, but one to which we are wholly and unwaveringly committed. Universities bear an intrinsic responsibility to advance the intellectual growth of their students through learning experiences that result not only in a diploma, but also in the vital maturation of their individual character.
Accordingly, the ASU Student Code of Conduct sets forth the standards of conduct expected of students who choose to join our university community. At ASU, students who violate these standards will be subject to disciplinary sanctions in order to promote their own personal development, to protect the university community, and to maintain order and stability on our campuses.