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Phoenix activist changes mind about ASU student expulsions

PHOENIX — A Phoenix civil rights activist who had demanded that Arizona State University students be expelled after attending a racially offensive off-campus fraternity party has changed course.

The Rev. Jarrett Maupin said in a statement Monday that he had reconsidered his position and that the stripping of privileges and banishment from campus of Tau Kappa Epsilon was the right thing to do, but called for “second chances for (individuals).”

The chapter was permanently revoked last week, days after hosting a party “celebrating” Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the theme of which included “dressing like black people.”

Maupin learned of the Jan. 19 party from a student who had attended and immediately informed ASU President Michael Crow. By Jan. 23 the chapter was given the boot, but Maupin had also sought the expulsions of the student involved.

In reconsidering that stance, Maupin said in his statement:

In his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked a poignant and relevant question that can still guide us to the moral high-ground: “Will we be extremists for hate or for love?”

… Let creative extremism guide us in the high-calling of civil rights work, inspire us to keep building a “New American University” free of racism, to embrace and affirm diversity, and transform ASU into MLK’s vision of a “beloved community.”

Students, this is your mountaintop-moment, don’t fail us or yourselves.

Crow said last week one of the school’s “essential responsibilities” was to teach and nurture integrity.