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Duke students rally against anti-Asian frat party

Promotions for the party included racist depictions of stereotyped Asian speech and a spoof of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.

Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET: Students at Duke University in Durham, N.C., gathered Wednesday to protest anti-Asian prejudice after a fraternity hosted a "racist rager" party last week replete with literature that lampooned Asian students.

More than 800 people signed up to attend the rally on a Facebook page published by the university's Asian American Alliance. The alliance later closed the page to public comment, saying national attention had made it an inappropriate forum "for a productive discussion of how to improve our campus."

"Something is deeply wrong with Duke. Something is deeply wrong with our community," a representative of the association said at the gathering Wednesday afternoon. "... This protest is about the destructive prejudice that must be uprooted from every corner of Duke to make this place an inclusive and safe place for all."

The rally was planned after Kappa Sigma fraternity — which was allowed to return to campus last year after having dissolved in 2002 amid a misconduct investigation — threw a theme party Friday at which attendees dressed up in stereotypical Asian costumes, the campus newspaper, The Chronicle, reported.

The event was promoted through flyers and email messages that included stereotyped Asian spellings like "herro" and "peopre" and images of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. It was promoted on Twitter with the hashtag #RacistRager.

The hashtag was quickly overtaken by tweets objecting to the party, like this one:


"This is not just about Asians, one party or one frat," Ashley Tsai, a senior at the university, told the Chronicle. "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."

The Student Government and and the Asian Students Association planned an on-campus open discussion Wednesday night. 

The fraternity's president apologized for the party, writing in an op-ed column:

Upon learning of the deeply damaging effects of our email to our fellow students, we should have completely canceled the aforementioned party. The Duke Community in which we exist is one that we see too often as divided, and while our actions have brought attention to and widened that divide, it is our sincere intention to work to contribute to a United Duke."

The paper quoted Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta as saying no discipline was planned because it wouldn't resolve racial tensions on campus.

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