The fraternity Alpha Tau Omega abruptly announced that they are abandoning their plans for colonization on Wittenberg’s campus. While representatives of the organization did not respond to request for comment, according to outgoing Greek Life Senator Michael Southard, ’16, the group “cited poor recruitment as their primary reason for leaving.” This comes despite the fact that ATO had recruited 18 members within their brief time on campus.
The fraternity announced last semester that it would be attempting to bring a chapter to Wittenberg after being approved by the campus’s current fraternities by a vote of 4-2; the two votes against came from Delta Tau Delta and Delta Sigma Phi. ATO abandoned its plans while in the midst of its “interest group” stage, which the organization defines as “any group of men that ATO communicates to with the intent to colonize and eventually charter.” Within this initial recruitment phase — which usually lasts between one to two months according to ATO — the group seeks to recruit 20-30 “individuals who are committed to creating a strong chapter.” ATO’s website claims that a campus cannot move out of the interest group and into the colonization stage until it has at least 20 recruits. The organization also says they look to charter an organization after they gain 40-45. In all, according to ATO, the colonization process should last nine to 12 months.
Southard described the departure abrupt and unpredictable, saying, “We were given no forewarning or indication that they were considering ceasing the colonization process. Despite our repeated offers of recruitment help and questions as to their success, they remained adamant that they were doing well and that there were no problems. There was no indication of a problem until the moment they came on campus to tell us that they were ceasing colonization.”
Looking forward, Southard is still optimistic about the prospects of growing Greek life on campus.
“I am more confident than ever that we are capable of supporting another fraternity,” he said, pointing to the 18 men recruited by ATO in face of what he deemed “unrealistic expectations and unprofessional methods.”
According to Southard, the university has begun to offer the 18 former ATO recruits support, including meetings between the men and staff. And despite his optimism about growing Greek life on campus, Southard said there are no on-going talks to bring another fraternity to campus, as most energy is being spent on assisting the former ATO recruits.
“At this point, it is far too soon to be talking about another attempt at growing the number of fraternities on campus,” he said. “We are more focused on providing support to the 18 men who have been abandoned by Alpha Tau Omega.”