Free-Speech Debate Rages Over Ariz. Frat’s MLK Party

Source: Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic / USA Today

PHOENIX — Just as social media played a big role in spreading images of partygoers at a controversial ASU fraternity event on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Twitter and Facebook have buzzed with debate over whether their behavior was racist and if it was free speech.

Many condemned the students’ actions at the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity party, which included partygoers wearing stereotypical hip-hop clothes and posing with hollowed-out watermelon cups, according to photos posted on the Internet.

As one person wrote Wednesday on Twitter: “ASU should revoke acceptance — expel them — for any students who thought it was ok to go to such a party.” The post ended with a hashtag that said: #sicktostomach.

Others felt Arizona State University officials would be going too far if they expelled students who went to the party, arguing that the behavior, although offensive, still fell under the umbrella of the First Amendment.

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