Posted on Sat, Mar. 04, 2006
House party called ‘insensitive’
CMSU suspends fraternity
By MARÁ ROSE WILLIAMS
The Kansas City Star
A fraternity has been kicked off the Central Missouri State University campus after administrators learned that students held a “racially insensitive” party around Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The January event, called a “chicken and beer” party, was held at Alpha Kappa Lambda’s housing complex, which is on university property and considered university housing. A three-week university investigation found that the party mocked the national King holiday, established to honor the slain African-American civil rights leader.
According to an editorial in the Muleskinner, the student newspaper, those who attended the party were told to show up dressed as a black person. Participants came wearing doo-rags and baggy pants and carrying chains, then drank beer from 40-ounce bottles and ate fried chicken. The fraternity’s national headquarters suspended it on Thursday and is taking steps to cancel the chapter’s charter, said Jeremy Slivinski, executive director of the national fraternity.
“We do find that the incident was racially insensitive,” Slivinski said. “And the house is supposed to be alcohol-free. They violated a risk-management policy.”
University officials said that before the suspension, the fraternity had the right to apply for student activity funds but that no university money was used to pay for the party.
Suspension means that the fraternity will no longer be permitted to participate in campus events as a social organization and no longer has access to campus funds. Alpha Kappa Lambda has been on the CMSU campus for 50 years. Slivinski said alumni of the CMSU chapter are “disappointed in the choices our men made and deeply sorry for any offense that might have been taken.
“We will not tolerate this kind of action by our undergraduates,” he said. On Friday, university officials began moving students in the 31-member fraternity from their house into residence halls on campus.
University officials are continuing an investigation and said there may be further disciplinary action against some students involved. Walt Hicklin, interim vice president for student affairs, said the university promotes a “healthy multicultural environment.”
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