Outrage at ASU

As many of you may know by now, over the weekend a fraternity at Arizona State University held an off-campus party that made the news, and with good reason. Approximately fifty students took part in a party that mocked African Americans. The fraternity in question was already in trouble, having been placed on probation.

We’ve been waiting to see what the university administration decided to do. I’ve heard no one defend the event; I’ve heard many people deplore it, and rightly so. However, it seemed inappropriate given my position to comment on the event on this blog while the university administration investigated the incident, interviewed participants, and spoke to other groups, including the national offices of the fraternity in question.

This evening ASU announced that the fraternity in question would no longer be part of the ASU community. The administration has not decided upon its course of action toward the students. Some people argue that they should be expelled; others look for a different approach to deal with the question of why students would behave this way. There’s also been a debate on whether addressing the behavior of the students violates their First Amendment rights.

Engaged as I have been in private discussions about how to respond to this incident and what ASU needs to do to address the matter and the issues it raises, you’ll understand that I’m not going to blog in detail about the matter, any more than I would blog about cases I have to address as chair of the university’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure or various administrative decisions concerning personnel. My colleagues, my friends, and my students know how I feel about this ugly incident. I find it deplorable and disgusting when anyone endorses racism and promotes or practices prejudice.

No doubt this matter will circulate in some corners of the blogosphere (I’m sure I need not name names), where it will be used as a weapon to attack me … and not to express concern about racism or racial prejudice. That’s understandable, since we all know what those folks think and feel about issues of diversity, multiculturalism, and racism. There’s no need for me to pay attention to them: the task at hand is to confront what happened at ASU, and to promote the principles and practices that address such deplorable attitudes and behavior as we go about the business of educating our students.

75 thoughts on “Outrage at ASU

  1. Al Mackey January 23, 2014 / 10:12 pm

    Personally, I don’t think they should be expelled. They did a stupid thing, and college students do stupid things. I would hope this could be turned into a learning situation for them.

  2. Neil Hamilton January 24, 2014 / 12:18 am

    Professor Simpson,

    I would, myself, be unconcerned with what ‘some corners of the blogosphere’ have to say about your present stance on this issue.

    Since when have they ever needed facts to attack anyone and anything that does not fit their heritage fantasy?

    Sincerely,
    Neil

  3. Tony January 24, 2014 / 1:05 am

    At least they didn’t shout “Where’s your green card” at a Puerto Rican player on national tv.šŸ™‚

    • Tony January 24, 2014 / 8:19 am

      Not saying that’s more heinous, but certainly more embarrassing for my university. IIRC, their scholarships were pulled and they were required to take cultural sensitivity classes.

  4. Patrick Young January 24, 2014 / 3:33 am

    Wow. When youth, stupidity, racism and alcohol meet, please make sure to post to social media. What a sad commentary on those fifty young people who seem to miss the point of a university education and who wanted trophies of their denigration of a race.

    • Al Mackey January 24, 2014 / 8:36 am

      When frontal lobes of the brain aren’t yet developed, there is a diminished ability to think ahead, and also empathy has been linked to the frontal lobes, suggesting that a person who hasn’t yet experienced frontal lobe development doesn’t have the ability to fully empathize with others, which explains behavior like this party.

  5. Betty Giragosian January 24, 2014 / 5:07 am

    Brooks, I don’t think the students should be expelled. It was wrong, stupid and silly. They have destroyed their fraternity, at least, on this campus. If they are expelled, where will they go? What school would take them? They are young, and someday may cringe when they look back on this
    and be ashamed of their part in it.

  6. Betty Giragosian January 24, 2014 / 7:18 am

    Brooks, hope no one takes what I am going to say, the wrong way–would the outrage have been the same if the students had mocked Mexican Americans, Italian Americans,
    Puerto Rican Americans, Chinese Americans, etc? or other ethnic groups? I think not.

    • John Foskett January 24, 2014 / 10:58 am

      I respectfully think that your conclusion is dead wrong.

      • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 9:28 am

        Mr. Foskett, I beg to respectfully disagree with you totally and completely. There would not be this same outrage had it been another ethic group. YOU are dead wrong. And, I have seen the video. Foolish and tasteless, and had not one person gotten the media involved, it would have amounted to nothing.

        • khepera420 January 26, 2014 / 10:46 am

          No Betty. John is completely right. You evidently get your news selectively. Granted, you don’t hear about incidents involving other ethnicities as often. That’s because they’re typically not the targets as often as African Americans are. I don’t know where you’re from, but I grew up and lived most of my life in the state of California. With its highly ethnically-diverse population, you’d better believe there would have been the same level of outrage had Latinos or Asians been caricatured in this fashion.

          In any case, what is your point? That blacks get special treatment when it comes to this sort of tasteless racist display? That seems to be your implication. Correct me if I am mistaken.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 11:15 am

            No, not special treatment at all. That is not the word for it. I am saying that this particular video, directed in a similar fashion towards any other ethnic group would not have achieved the same notoriety that this one has, not even in your native state.

          • khepera420 January 26, 2014 / 12:05 pm

            What is the word for it, then? And I think I know my native state and the American Southwest a lot better than you do. You do realize, don’t you, that one of the reasons this achieved such notoriety is because of the connection to Dr. King’s holiday? Things like this happen all the time and fly under the radar, or they only make local news. The connection to a national holiday is what caused this one to become national news.

        • John Foskett January 26, 2014 / 10:48 am

          Betty: You’re the one who’s dead wrong. You are obviously operating without sufficient information. I assure you with 100% confidence that had these jokers staged some sort of “parody”/party with offensive ethnic stereotypes for Cinco de Mayo or the Chinese New Year, just for example, they would have been in trouble. I’ll allow our host to answer your speculative assertion that this has been viewed as a problem by the authorities at ASU only because “the media got involved.”

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 11:30 am

            Mr. Foskett, if the media had not gotten involved,would ASU have even known about it? But they did hear of it, and reacted as they did. rightfully so. There is a great deal of latitude, I grant you, given to some ethnic groups–some for instance, parade on the streets flying the flag of their ancestral homeland, to the detriment of the flag of the country that welcomes them. Chanting their hatred of this country. To me, that is worse than flying the CBF in a similar way. I don’t believe that would go over well in my part of the country. We are not all that welcoming of the CBF unless in its proper place back here. But then, as Brooks implies, we are different. ASU did what was necessary as soon as they knew it. I don’t get your reasoning ion this.

          • John Foskett January 26, 2014 / 1:19 pm

            Betty: Don’t assume that ASU wouldn’t have gotten word of this without media involvement. If you’ve followed the story you know that these lads were already “on probation”. As for flags and hatred, now you’ve lost me. Plenty of folks who are visibly trotting out the CBF and pushing their CBF agenda do in fact actively hate this country as it currently exists and are unafraid to state their view that the “wrong” side prevailed in the ACW. All you have to do is look at the various blogsites, youtube videos, and tweets that have been linked here in several articles to see them and their unambiguous viewpoints.

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 26, 2014 / 5:06 pm

            Had the participants not broadcast their antics across social media, it is less likely that there would have been a response (or at least this sort of response). But it is not as if someone went looking for something: rather, they were presented with a story by none other than the partiers themselves.

        • Thelibertylamp January 26, 2014 / 11:21 am

          Betty, get a clue, none of this would be tolerated if other ethnic groups were targeted, everyone knows that.

          If there was a Hitler party and they were targeting Jews they would be banned and their asses thrown off campus as well.

          I don’t feel sorry for them. The snotty little privileged racist brats need this kick in their pants.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 11:39 am

            If there were a Hitler party, I would hope it would be equally condemned, I am speaking in a broader sense, not just in the university arena. I agree, ASU would equally condemn all such doings against any ethnic group, I am speaking of the general public. I did not make myself clear. All my posts are directed towards the general public. I do not feel sorry for these kids. I just just don’t think they should be expelled.

          • Thelibertylamp January 26, 2014 / 11:45 am

            I think those kids should not only be expelled and their names made public so other schools will know about them if they try to apply to them.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 1:25 pm

            libblylamp I think you too harsh. Yes, what they did was wrong, but don’t destroy the rest of their lives, Give them a chance to redeem themselves and become good citizens. . They have been posted all over the place, and who knows what retribution they may face

    • Brooks D. Simpson January 24, 2014 / 12:21 pm

      In answer to your question: Yes, the outrage would have been the same here.

      One of the blind spots of folks who live on the East Coast is that the racial and ethnic demography of the American Southwest is fundamentally different than that of the eastern US (at least as people perceive it … because changes are coming). African Americans are a far smaller percentage of the population, so measuring diversity by looking at blacks and whites is really quite a mistake. I can assure you that a party mocking Mexican Americans or Native Americans or Asian Americans would have caused quite an outrage here. As to whether such a party would spark the same sort of outrage back east … well, that would tell us a great deal more about the people back east than the people here, wouldn’t it?

      • Betty Giragosian January 24, 2014 / 2:02 pm

        Brooks I live ”back east’ and in the southland. I would not be outraged by any of it, including this silly action by a bunch of kids. I would think it regrettable but certainly not to extent of expelling students. I do not know exactly what they did, but IMHO, I think there is a great deal of over reaction at ASU. It was committed off campus, apparently by members of this fraternity. What about the First amendment rights of the students?

        • Brooks D. Simpson January 24, 2014 / 2:51 pm

          I’m sure that some students will try to cite the First Amendment, but that has to do with prior restraint. They would have to contest the Student Code of Conduct … and they agreed to that when they entered here.

          The reaction to this story has been national; locally it’s well beyond ASU. I don’t think the action taken concerning the fraternity is an overreaction: I think it’s appropriate. As to the members of the fraternity (and any other attendees), we’ll see.

          • John Foskett January 25, 2014 / 11:45 am

            In addition, as we know, the rules regarding the First Amendment rights of students are different from those which apply to the public in general. In various contexts there are limitations which don’t apply in your standard “speech as a citizen” context.

          • Lyle Smith January 25, 2014 / 1:52 pm

            This is kind of a sad fact. I always thought universities were places where people, especially the students, could get away with saying anything.

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 25, 2014 / 5:59 pm

            I’m not sure that’s ever been true. But I would not confuse this party with a form of political speech. If you feel otherwise, please contact the university to express your concern. Thanks.

          • John Foskett January 26, 2014 / 10:51 am

            Not according to the Supreme Court in nearly 50 years of decisions. And, as our host points out, this was hardly “speech” in its purest form.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 9:16 am

            Brooks, I do not think that the action taken towards the fraternity was excessive, at all. if the students are expelled it will be. People make mistakes, many times hurting others. Judgement should not be excessive.

        • khepera420 January 25, 2014 / 12:33 pm

          Betty, with all respect; I frequently see and hear comments and reactions to things like this that are in line with yours above. They are almost always comments from those who enjoy the privilege of being a member of the dominant race or ethnicity in a given society. Unless you are member of a non-dominant group in this country, or someone sensitive to issues like this as they relate to the broader scope and promise of our country, you have no idea of the pain these sorts of things can cause.

          Further, they make a mockery of our professed American ideals. And they obviously offend the integrity and ideals of ASU. First Amendment rights don’t apply here, and I wish more people would actually read the darned language of the amendment instead of just tossing it about whenever someone wants an excuse to be an ass.

          And don’t think I’m letting racial and ethnic minorities off the hook in regard to this type of lack of compassion. I know that there’s many a black person who would bristle at the image of Sambo, but wonder what the big deal was with the Frito Bandito or Hollywood’s former depictions of the stereotypical, evil, Asian archvillain. It happens the other way around as well. Bottom line, though, is that it’s not right and it has no acceptable place in a society or a nation like ours.

      • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 10:49 am

        Brooks what are you implying–that the people back east and also southern are more racist than you folks out west? I know of the racism towards the Mexican Americans
        out your way. Maybe it is just frustration over so many people crossing the border illegally, but yes, it is racism, just the same. However, I can see that it is just so much more satisfying to condemn white southerners for being the racists of all time, And, you will never convince me that the outrage would have been the same, had this kind of video been directed towards the other ethnic groups. I don’t believe Dr King would have been this upset over this video as most of the folks commenting. He may have even gotten a laugh out of it. Whose to know?

        • Brooks D. Simpson January 26, 2014 / 11:23 am

          Betty, I am implying no such thing, and I think you know better.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 11:43 am

            Brooks, I thought I knew better, but your statement puzzled me. Don’t make me feel bad!
            I apologize.

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 26, 2014 / 5:16 pm

            Thanks.

            But here is something to ponder: we’re talking about a small group of students, whose behavior finds no defenders among other students at ASU (indeed, quite the opposite). The debate is over how to treat them (with a few First Amendment claims sprinkled here and there). But one reason ASU responded to this was to challenge any perception that such behavior was either to be tolerated or was typical of students here.

            The same thing can be said about how members of the Confederate heritage community need to think about several of the Virginia Flaggers. Do people committed to the honoring of Confederate heritage really want to be represented by the Connie Chastains and Norwood “Tripp” Lewises of the world? At least the SCV is finally taking action against Lewis. That’s because the Chastains, Lewises, and so on present themselves as the face of Confederate heritage. The best way from someone to ridicule or even “evilize” white southerners is to accept the claims of Chastain, Lewis, and co. at face value … that they represent the “real South.” We both know that is not the case.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 7:01 pm

            Brooks, I have written things and expressed myself on several sites, and my popularity is quite low, in that group–. I don’t care. I continue to read some pretty bad stuff written about me by some of their number. I have friends who pick it up on various sites and send the posts to me. I don’t what else I can do. I do have a wide circle of friends who feel the same as I do. I am glad the SCV has taken the action that it has. This guy is like Dracula, you can’t keep him down. .

            I once had a run in with your favorite lady blogger and had to block her, later defended her when one of the guys called her a liar, and it shocked my southern womanhood. I can’t remember what I did to raise her ire.

            What worries me about flagging the chapel is that some of their actions could cause the lease with the camp not to be renewed. Lee-Jackson Camp has lovingly restored the chapel, looked after it, and made it available for use by the UDC, and chapters and other camps. The VMFA, I understand has recently replaced the roof at great cost. I just hope they will be forebearing.

            I think ASU was exactly right in doing what it did re those young people. They were wrong and must have some punishment, just not be expelled. When I railed about the reaction to the event, and wondered if the reaction would have been the same had any other ethnic group been the target, I was speaking of the general public and not ASU. I can see that I did not make myself clear. ASU was exactly right

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 26, 2014 / 7:29 pm

            No worries. It would be quite a shame if the actions of the Virginia Flaggers brought harm to the chapel.

            Not enough advocates of Confederate heritage distance themselves from the antics of the Virginia Flaggers, and that’s a shame.

        • John Foskett January 26, 2014 / 11:44 am

          I doubt that King would have found humor in the fact that somebody is still using the good old “watermelon” image to parody black Americans nearly 50 years after he was killed. Your attempt to present white southerners as “victims” in this context is unfortunate, to say the least.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 12:26 pm

            Mr. Foskett, how unfortunate that you persist in putting words into my mouth. I am not portraying Southerners as victims, we are stronger than that.

          • John Foskett January 26, 2014 / 1:10 pm

            Betty:

            This is what you said:

            “However, I can see that it is just so much more satisfying to condemn white southerners for being the racists of all time.”

            Sorry, but words matter. These words clearly imply that white southerners are victims of unfair animosity and prejudice.

          • Betty Giragosian January 27, 2014 / 7:05 am

            John, too bad you took my meaning in that way.

            Southerner are not victims. As southerner, I am aggravated that we are perceived that way. I will admit, there are some among us who are racists and we are all smeared with the same brush. Now let me reiterate:

            ASU is right in punishing these students

            My comments have been directed towards the general public and their reaction to this event–what would it have been had the outrage been directed toward any other ethnic group. ASU would have reacted the same way had any other ethnic group been targeted.

            Pity I did not make myself clear at the beginning. This whole exchange has been an exercise in futility. I could have saved a lot of time and writing had I done so at the beginning, and so could you.

          • John Foskett January 28, 2014 / 11:09 am

            Fair enough. I took the words at face value.

          • Betty Giragosian January 28, 2014 / 1:29 pm

            Thanks, John

        • khepera420 January 26, 2014 / 12:12 pm

          Anti-Latino *and* -Asian racism were in place in California LONG before any red herring issues of illegal immigration or flying flags of one’s native country. And what does this have to do with white southerners? Were these boys from the south? Arizona isn’t the south, and not all racists are either white OR southerners. And no one here has said such.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 12:31 pm

            Khepera 429–I don-t know where the boys are from. I know that Arizona is not in the south. I was making a comparison.

        • khepera420 January 26, 2014 / 12:16 pm

          And, for the record, I *don’t* think they should be expelled. But I think that they should be taught, good and hard, that actions have consequences. God forbid they be expelled. . .I’ll have to endure the Twitter and blog comment storm of, “. . .see, this is what makes white people racist!” Oi!

    • pam January 24, 2014 / 2:17 pm

      Betty, no racism is not acceptable whether we are talking about Mexicans, Asians or any other ethnicity. Remember the Frito Bandito? Gone. Charlie Chan? Gone. I believe in the Southwest caution signs with Mexican families crossing the roads had to be amended. Racism is not acceptable in this country.

      • Betty Giragosian January 25, 2014 / 7:33 pm

        Pam, I had forgotten all about the Frito Bandido–right, he is long gone, and what a cute little fellow he was, but must have hurt the Mexican Americans terribly. Remember the Untouchables? I loved that series, but it hurt the Italian Americans. I never attributed those villains to be a representation of the Italian Americans, but it was a good story about criminals that I missed after it was cancelled.

        Perhaps the next things w e can have removed will be Honey Boo-Boo, alligator wrestling individuals, bagging of all creatures great and small, toothless, bearded folks
        living in swamps, all having southern accents. In the attempt to purge racism, we have gone overboard,but while we are at it, let us get rid of all the unflattering southern stereotypes

        • Brooks D. Simpson January 26, 2014 / 5:21 pm

          It’s hard to get rid of them when we have people like Tripp Lewis reinforcing them.

          I have a great many white southerners in my family life, and I know a great deal more. I even question the descriptive utility of the term “white southerner,” given my time in Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina (and I have family who live not far from the “Duck Dynasty” folks). So you are right about the issue of stereotypes of white southerners … but it seems to me that white southerners have to take the lead in questioning whether Tripp Lewis should be the poster child for Confederate heritage.

          • Betty Giragosian January 26, 2014 / 6:06 pm

            Brooks, Lord knows we would like to. I saw Tripp last Sunday following the program at the chapel. He is not, incidentally, a member of the Latane Camp or color guard. He belongs to Edmund Ruffin Fire Eaters and its color guard. According to two videos, he had a bit of a run- in on two Sundays with the guards at the VMFA, when there were special programs at the chapel. If I remember correctly, I believe the court has forbidden him to trod the grounds of the VMFA bearing any kind of flag. We chatted briefly last Sunday, and he mentioned something about a lawsuit against the VMFA. I think he said there are two of them.

            I was chapel organist on both of those special event Sundays, and saw Tripp each time.

            I am well aware that you do have good southern relatives and that you care for them very much. I will bet a lot that they are very proud of you. Thank you for letting me sound off on your blog. To be honest, right now I am exhausted from blogging on your blog all afternoon. Think I will watch Downton Abbey and retreat to another world for a bit.

            Tomorrow I will be ready to read your blog, again, and it is to be hoped, I will be quiet.

  7. Schroeder January 24, 2014 / 9:00 am

    I’d like to think that the majority will regret their stupidity – I think expulsion is excessive for the offense. If the fraternity was already on probation, shutting them down would be the wise thing to do. Regardless of race, futures are at stake – I’m sure that anyone can appreciate this fact.

    • John Foskett January 24, 2014 / 11:27 am

      Expulsion probably is excessive. Suspension, IMHO, probably is not. There ought to be a penalty for this level of stupidity by people who are bright enough to matriculate at a major university. It’s not as though by now as a society we don’t know that this is conduct which earns sanctions.

      • Lyle Smith January 25, 2014 / 1:45 pm

        It’s amazing universities matriculate racists in this day and age in America. Computer technology may change all that soon.

  8. Lyle Smith January 24, 2014 / 9:07 am

    I don’t actually know what these students did, but how do people go about criticizing degenerate subcultures in the African-American community, like violent gang culture that results in murder after murder, without coming across racist since the subculture is ethnocentric? Is it not okay to shame and belittle such subcultures? Is shaming and belittling such subcultures targeting all African-Americans?

    • John Foskett January 24, 2014 / 11:05 am

      With all due respect you simply have to open the links to know what they did:

      “Attendees wore basketball jerseys, drank from cups made out of watermelons and flashed gang signs for the camera.”

      It was a “party” and it was staged for MLK Day. Real enlightening stuff about the dangers of gang violence in inner cities. Your question regarding how one goes about “criticizing degenerate subcultures” is irrelevant to this particular story.

      • Lyle Smith January 24, 2014 / 12:20 pm

        When I wrote that I hadn’t clicked on the link. This was something that I thought when first saw a headline about this story. Regardless, my question isn’t irrelevant and my question still stands. That these fraternity guys and friends went beyond just mocking black gangs doesn’t change the fact that there are subcultures in America that might ought to be criticized. You don’t consider yourself a racist for criticizing Confederate heritagists do you? And it’s not like white Southerners ever get lumped in with the Confederate heritagists by some people. I’m pretty sure there are university professors out there who do this and aren’t run off their campus by their university administration.

        I think these guys went too far with their MLK celebration. Specifically the watermelon cups hit hard at a particular stereotype of African-Americans. It’s a racist parody. That said, I find it kind of interesting to contemplate that MLK might actually agree with these guys in some of their mocking acts.

        • John Foskett January 25, 2014 / 11:49 am

          How on earth do you connect (1) criticism of “Confederate heritagists” with (2) their race?

          • Lyle Smith January 25, 2014 / 1:42 pm

            Confederate heritagists are overwhelmingly ethnocentric man.

          • John Foskett January 26, 2014 / 8:42 am

            Yeah, but critiquing some yahoo marching around with a Confederate flag isn’t utilizing an ethnic stereotype of “white” folks. Or so would say the vast majority of caucasian Americans.

        • Patrick Young January 26, 2014 / 8:24 am

          Ummm, let’s see. MLK wasn’t a gang banger as far as I know, so why would that even be relevant?

          As to your point about “gang culture”: I criticize gangs in my area all the time, speak with parents about keeping their kids out of gangs, and work with the police to eradicate gang violence. I am an older white man. No one in the black or Latino community calls me a racist for my opposition to gangs because I don’t show up with a big watermelon as an educational prop.

    • Brooks D. Simpson January 24, 2014 / 12:11 pm

      I think you have ample opportunity to find out what happened rather than to pose a hypothetical that has nothing to do with the incident under discussion. Nor do I see that holding a party where people come in costume and drink out of watermelon cups offers an instance of meaningful social protest.

      • Lyle Smith January 24, 2014 / 12:21 pm

        It is absolutely has to do with the discussion because they made fun of black gangs.

        • Brooks D. Simpson January 24, 2014 / 12:24 pm

          Read the stories. It was not a form of social protest. Let’s not compare these kids to Gandhi, okay? Given that some members of the fraternity have a past history of violence (that was why they were already on probation), I don’t think they were protesting violent behavior as a matter of profound principle and moral commitment.

          • Lyle Smith January 24, 2014 / 12:37 pm

            I know it wasn’t a social protest, but there was social commentary involved regardless of how superficial such commentary was.

            Some of their commentary was definitely racist, but some of it may actually be relevant to the day and be a little bit poignant. This is just what I think.

        • khepera420 January 24, 2014 / 2:46 pm

          They weren’t making fun of black gangs. They were indulging in their bigoted stereotypes of black *people. Period. In the twisted perceptions of people like this all black guys eat watermelon, shoot hoops and flash gang signs. They weren’t “criticizing” negative subcultures any more than I’d be if I mocked someone by sticking in a wad of chew, hanging a confederate flag for a curtain, putting my car up on blocks in the yard and sat on the porch pretending to smoke a meth pipe.

          • Lyle Smith January 24, 2014 / 3:17 pm

            Two of the gentlemen photographed were dressed up as “Bloods”. They were definitely intending to make fun of that black gang.

            It also may be that they were just pushing their free speech rights, much akin to the drawings of the Prophet Mohammed controversy. I don’t think they’re stupid enough to know they weren’t going to be offending a lot of people.

          • khepera420 January 24, 2014 / 4:01 pm

            Play it in whatever manner makes you comfortable and allows you to deny their racism. I think that some of the hashtags accompanying their photos on Instagram, such as #blackoutformlk and #ihaveadream speak more eloquently to their intentions than any fantasy they may have had regarding First Amendment rights (which are irrelevant here in any case, since the amendment doesn’t concern itself with poor taste or public assholery).

          • Lyle Smith January 25, 2014 / 1:42 pm

            I haven’t denied their racism.

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 25, 2014 / 6:45 pm

            No, you haven’t. And here’s what the national chapter of the fraternity involved has to say.

  9. Bob Huddleston January 24, 2014 / 10:23 am

    Exactly what does “shutting down: the fraternity mean? Can the students no longer live there? Or does it mean the orgnainzation no longer have access to university resources?

    • Brooks D. Simpson January 24, 2014 / 12:05 pm

      It’s not recognized at ASU. Remember, fraternities need to have their chapters recognized by the institution.

  10. pam January 24, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    These young adults were wrong in their actions….terribly wrong and they do need to be checked. They need to learn, absorb that racists acts are not to be tolerated. I do not see what expulsion from the school will do to teach them. I think pulling their scholarships and requiring classes that will show other sides (besides stereographic information) of various ethnicities might be in order. Student loans are available. They need a huge slap, but it shouldn’t keep them from an education and promising futures.

  11. Joshism January 24, 2014 / 5:21 pm

    Fratboys did something stupid? When does that ever happen? Oh, that’s right – ALL THE TIME.

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