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Duke fraternity suspended after racial-themed party

Published On: Feb 06 2013 07:18:19 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2013 09:55:25 PM CST
DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -

The Duke University chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended by its parent organization following a party that some have called racist.

Wilson Mitchell, the national executive director of Kappa Sigma, told ABC11 Wednesday all activities and events have been put on hold while the national organization determines the status of the Eta Prime chapter.

The move came the same day an Asian student group held a protest on the Duke campus over the party.

It has also filed a formal complaint.

An invitation sent out for the event February 1 included the title "Kappa Sigma Asia Prime," and used phrases like "Herro Nice Duke Peopre!!" and an image depicting a caricature of North Korea's dictator with the caption "You had me at herro."

The name of the party was changed to "International Relations" after complaints were made, but pictures purportedly from the event posted on the social media site Facebook showed participants wearing conical Asian hats, sumo wrestler suits, and traditional Asian garb.

Duke's Asian American Alliance organized Wednesday's protest, calling the party offensive.

"The events of the past week have deeply hurt students in our community, the group said in a post on its Facebook page.

"...we won't use our platform to alienate, to provide more fodder for stereotypes about Duke, or to trivialize any person's experience. Instead we will use this opportunity to spread an awareness of why the events of the past week were hurtful and to establish a concrete plan for how our community can move forward from these events," it continued.

Duke has suffered similar embarrassments in the past. In November, the school took down pictures of a member of its women's lacrosse team dressed in blackface at a Halloween party from its athletics website.

Duke administrators told the Duke Chronicle student newspaper that they had met with members of Kappa Sigma to express their disappointment the event was allowed to occur despite encouragement from the school to cancel it.

The Chronicle also reported an email from Kappa Sigma President Luke Keohane which apologized for the fraternity's actions.

Asked Wednesday if the school plans to discipline the fraternity, a school official told ABC11 it does not.

Instead, Duke is looking at how it can better educate all students and use this as a learning tool to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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