Duke fraternity suspended amid protest over Asian-themed party

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The parent organization of Kappa Sigma fraternity has suspended its Duke University chapter over a party that featured offensive Asian stereotypes, including straw conical hats.

Last Friday's party was reported to have featured an Asian theme, but university vice president of student affairs Larry Moneta said the title was changed to international relations after some students complained.

An Asian student group filed a complaint and held a protest rally Wednesday.

Duke’s student newspaper — The Chronicle — reports that several students posted fliers across Duke’s campus protesting the Kappa Sigma part on Feb. 1. The fliers included emails sent to invitees, as well as photographs of students at the party, some of whom wore kimonos and conical hats. The party was originally called “Kappa Sigma Asia Prime” before a report was filed with university officials.

A second email was later sent indicating a new party would take place, but the original included several misspellings to convey Asian-accented English and a meme based on the Kim Jung-il character in the film “Team America: World Police,” the newspaper reports.

The responding fliers posted by senior Ashley Tsai, Tong Xiang and Ting-Ting Zhou called the party a “racist rager” and suggested the fraternity — which was formally recognized last year, nearly 10 years after it disbanded — should lose its charter.

“This is not just about Asians, one party or one frat,” Tsai told the newspaper. “This is a consistent thing happening. We want serious things to be done by the student body and the university so that this never happens again.”

Pictures posted online showed people attending the party dressed in Asian-style clothing and a greeting that mocked Asian dialect.

Kappa Sigma executive director Mitchell Wilson said the national organization will investigate the party and take final action based on the outcome of that probe.

Moneta said the university is considering unspecified action.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from The Chronicle.