Two Greek council advisors leave University

The two advisors are leaving the University by the end of October for other schools after two years of working with Greek councils.

by Kayla Song

Two advisors in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Minnesota are leaving the school this month after taking job offers at other schools.

Ronald Atkinson, who advises the Interfraternity Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, works his last day on Oct. 27 before starting at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Keith Garcia, advisor for the Multicultural Greek Council and Pan-Hellenic Council left the University on Oct. 4 and starts Monday at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

“I can’t say one bad thing about the University of Minnesota,” Atkinson said. “I’ve had a great experience here. I think we’ve had the chance to truly transform the Greek community for the better.”

Garcia and Atkinson started working at the University in 2015. Both will be taking on Greek life assistant director positions because the jobs are closer to family, said James Ehrmann, program director for OFSL.

“[Atkinson] and [Garcia] were advisors that went beyond their roles of overseeing the four councils,” said Jonang Thao, MGC president. “Their mentality to guide each council through the the smallest details are encouraging.”

As advisors for the four councils, Garcia and Atkinson maintained chapter programming, advised students and worked through issues with chapters, Ehrmann said.

“They’ve done a significant amount to grow our community and advocate for all of our four councils,” Ehrmann said. “They advocated for our students, and their advocacy has put our community in a much better place.”

Their positions will be open for applicants by spring semester, but until the search for new advisors begins, he said the primary focus is a full assessment on OFSL.

Ehrmann will take on both their responsibilities, supervising all four councils until the two advisor positions are filled next year.

“It’s certainly bitter-sweet,” Ehrmann said. “They’re not just colleagues of mine, they’re my friends. … There’s a lot of support in our office.”

Leaders of the four councils said they already feel the absence of Garcia and Atkinson.

PHC president Molly Haeg said Garcia was a resource if issues came up and felt the advisers were attentive to Greek life concerns.

Richard Pittman, chairman of NPHC, said the advisers will be “sorely missed” and that they’ve had a long-term impact on Greek life.

“They have been great advocates of ours and represented the Greek community to the best of their abilities at all times,” said Simon Beck, president of the IFC. “The two of them have played an integral part in the explosive growth Greek life has seen in recent years.”