After a three and a half year hiatus, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity rejoined the University community Monday night.
Beginning with the initiation of its first 24 members since 1994, the fraternity continued its reinstatement festivities with a banquet that took place at the restored Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house on University Avenue.
“The banquet will increase exposure and recruitment on campus,” said Andy Cosgrove, newly appointed vice president for the fraternity. “It should bring us back into the greek community.”
Alpha Tau Omega fraternity came to the University in 1902 and its current house was constructed in 1924. The fraternity lost its charter in fall 1994 because of a lack of leadership and low membership numbers, according to new president Shane Morris.
Along with low enrollment and lack of leadership, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity faced a shaded public image in the early ’90s.
In 1990, two fraternity members were charged with disorderly conduct for casting racial slurs at two African-American women on campus. The two students allegedly posed as police officers and demanded to see identification from the women. When the women did not comply, the two fraternity members allegedly verbally attacked the women with racial epithets.
Alpha Tau Omega fraternity was again in the criminal spotlight in 1994 when a former cook for the organization filed a civil suit for sexual harassment and verbal abuse against at least 15 members of the fraternity.
The fraternity began what Morris called “recolonization,” in fall 1995. Since then, the organization has raised more than $200,000 — most of which went to reconstruction of the inside of the house.
“We have spent the past two and a half years laying a foundation and the groundwork,” Morris said.
In order to regain its charter, the fraternity had to complete a long list of tasks. Members were sent to leadership and social services programs and had to meet specific academic standards.
New members stress the positive direction in which Alpha Tau Omega fraternity is headed.
“I knew some people who were involved with ATO,” Cosgrove said. “They were a great group of guys and I liked what they were doing and where they were going.”