The Alpha Tau Omega fraternity moved out of its 200 North McKinley Avenue house Wednesday due to financial troubles.
The fraternity, founded in 1972, defaulted on four mortgage payments last summer. Ball State co-signed the loan, and therefore had to make the payments.
At the end of the spring semester, university officials asked ATO to repay, and turned down a payment plan offer, Glen Warren, chapter president of ATO said. As a result ATO has been placed on suspension for two years.
Rules set by the national chapter of the fraternity do not allow local chapters to operate if not recognized by the university. ATO's suspension results in the fraternity not being recognized by Ball State. The national chapter did agree to hold ATO's charter until they were reinstated. The national chapter is understanding because the problems are due to money and recruitment, said Warren.
The fraternity will not officially exist during this period. Warren said the members, now referred to as "undergraduate alumni," are determined to raise the money in time for the two year review, if not before. The board of trustees for the fraternity will appeal to the university to reinstate ATO in one year if the members can raise the money.
"We're going to rally," said Warren.
Members plan to meet next fall to discuss fund raising possibilites.
Warren credits the lack in funds to a general decline in recruitment. "The house was built when we had 80 members; times were great."
The fraternity has decreased to 25 members in the years leading up to the financial problems. He also said the fraternity had been suspended for monetary reasons, and not for misbehavior such as hazing or irresponsible partying.
"We didn't do anything wrong," said Warren, "we're just having some money problems.
Reasons for the decrease in interest could be recent media coverage of incidents of deaths like at Indiana University, highly publicized sanctions put on fraternities, such as the recent dry campus decree, and a general negative opinion of fraternity membership encouraged by recent films such as "Sorority Boys," and "Van Wilder," said Warren.
ATO has over 500 Alumni. "(They) are saddened, but helpful," said Warren.