ASU Fraternity's Charter Revoked After MLK Party

January 24, 2014

(Photo by Jude Joffe-Block-KJZZ)
Black students and local civil rights leaders held a press conference at ASU to denounce the party.

The fraternity that held a controversial Martin Luther King, Jr. Day party has had its charter revoked. Tau Kappa Epsilon now has no ties to Arizona State University. That means the 65-year-old fraternity can no longer recruit members or hold on-campus meetings. It also will not be listed on ASU’s website.

The decision is permanent and comes less than a week after the frat held what it called an MLK Black Party. Photos quickly circulated on social media of white partygoers wearing stereotypical hip-hop clothing and drinking out of watermelon cups. The images drew national criticism and calls from civil rights leaders to expel the fraternity.

Tau Kappa Epsilon was already on disciplinary probation for an earlier incident. The university also cited the fraternity for underage drinking. ASU officials said they are still investigating and will decide how to discipline the estimated 50 students involved.

Tau Kappa Epsilon is also taking its own disciplinary actions. Spokesperson Alex Baker said TKE’s own investigation found the party was not sanctioned by the frat.

"'The 'MLK Party' was not an official fraternity event of the local TKE chapter. The event was not discussed or formally planned by the chapter," Baker said.

Baker said the 16 members involved in the party will face suspension or expulsion, and the chapter will issue a public apology.

Updated 1/24/2014 3:47 p.m.