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Jan 25, 2014 06:13 AM EST

TKE Frat Issues Public Apology; Places ASU Chapter on Probation for Racist MLK Party (UPDATE)

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In response to the expulsion of its local chapter from ASU, the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) has decided to impose tough disciplinary actions on Arizona State University (ASU) students involved in a racially insensitive party. The students will be either expelled or suspended from the frat.

The off-campus party held Jan 19 to mark the birthday of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, saw white students mocking blacks wearing loose basketball jerseys and hats, flashing street gang signs, and drinking from water melon shaped cups.

Photos from the distasteful party posted on Instagram and other social networking sites sparked a huge outcry among students and civil rights activists. University officials initially suspended the chapter and permanently revoked the charter status, cutting off ties with the fraternity, Jan 23. The frat has been affiliated with the school for about 65 years.

According to a statement posted on TKE's official website, the fraternity 'strongly condemns and sincerely apologizes for the actions of the few members involved in this incident.' During their investigation at ASU, the frat officials learnt that 16 of the 125 chapter members attended the gathering.  It was an unofficial party held at a member's private residence and attended by around 30 guests.

Besides the disciplinary actions, TKE has decided to place ASU chapter on one-year probation and has planned to issue a public apology to the university and the community. Plus, it will also offer a professional program on cultural diversity to promote unity among students.

It is not clear whether ASU would rescind its decision of stripping the fraternity of its charter after the announcement of the penalties.

Meanwhile, ASU has initiated an internal investigation to determine whether students involved in the party violated the school's code of conduct.

Reverend Jarrett Maupin, a local civil rights leader, is calling for tough disciplinary actions against the students. Maupin hailed the university's decision to sever ties with the frat. He called it a 'watershed moment for race relations at Arizona State University,' Reuters reports.

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