President Of ASU African American Men Responds To TKE Scandal

By Ja'han Jones
January 24, 2014

On Friday, Tau Kappa Epsilon's national office issued a statement apologizing for the actions of what it says were a “few members involved in the incident.” TKE said the MLK party was not an official fraternity event. It also claims some of the offensive photos being used by media outlets were actually from a 2012 Halloween event and an “earlier, sports-themed function.”

Ja'han Jones, president of African American Men of Arizona State University, wrote a letter to the members of TKE.


To the Brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon,

Admittedly, I write this letter with regret.

A man hopes to come in contact with another man only for purposes of solidarity, unity and love. Having been made aware, however, of your most recent act of denigration toward the African American community, I find myself in your mailbox, or on your computer screen, for purposes much less fortunate. I write, now, with no intent to reprimand or defame, but to ask with the utmost sincerity, why?

The legacy of the African American Men of ASU is one from which my constituents and I derive an incomparable pride. The organization continues in its pursuit of improved retention rates for African American males and, more largely, the cultural consciousness of ASU's African American community. This, again, is our legacy.

I am concerned, however, that your legacy is enduring an irreparable damage. I am concerned that your organization's self-professed mission to “aid men in their mental, moral, and social development for life” eludes you with such heinous acts as your most recent “MLK Black Party." I am concerned that your fraternity is transforming into an echo chamber for racism, and I am concerned that not a man stood among you brothers with the foresight to predict the shame such an event would bring your organization.

To be “fraternal” is to be of, or akin to, brotherhood. To be brothers, in the context of organizational fraternity, ought to be more a celebration of manhood than a celebration of maleness. To celebrate the beauty of manhood is to celebrate the character traits so necessary for a man to fulfill his  responsibilities. To celebrate maleness is to parade oneself as a caricature of manhood.

Much of my work with the African American Men of ASU is concerned with clarifying this difference. In fact, at their foundations, much of the work of ASU's numerous other fraternities is concerned with clarifying this difference. I can only hope that you, too, will one day make this your goal.