Greek opinion varies on cause of money issues

Earlier this month, Alpha Tau Omega moved from its 200 North McKinley Avenue house and went on suspension for two years.

Local ATO president Glen Warren blamed a general decline in interest in greek life for the fraternity's financial troubles.

Other members of the greek community disagreed with Warren's reasons for ATOs financial troubles.

According to Tony Bilotto, president of the Interfraternity Council, ATO's moving out was caused by poor management by their alumni housing corporation. He also said that the members of the fraternity didn't find out about the problem until it was too late.

"It is really a shame," Bilotto said. "But I wouldn't look to that situation as an example of what is to come of the greek community."

Bilotto also said he would look for ATO to be back on Ball State's campus in the near future.

As far as a general decrease in interest in the greek community, Bilotto said that numbers have stayed steady since he first joined the greek community in the fall of 1998.

"Sure individual houses have went up and down in size, but as a whole, we are staying about the same," Bilotto said. "Does this make me personally happy? No. I want to see the greek community grow in size and have more of an impact on Ball State's campus."

IFC Vice President Adam Fisher said that recruitment numbers for all fraternities were down this past year.

"That was mainly because it was the first year of the no-alcohol policy," Fisher said.

Fisher said that this discouraged many freshmen who wanted to join merely for the parties.

"But [this] left us with some solid, quality men," Fisher said.

"Freshmen numbers may be down, but we should get more sophomores and other men who realize that joining a fraternity should have nothing to do with alcohol," Fisher said.

"ATO's closing had nothing to do with lack of interest or declining members," Fisher said. "It was purely their financial situation that did them in."

"The issue of interest in the greek system is really a campus by campus issue," said Wynn Smiley, chief executive officer of the national chapter of ATO. "There is and always will be a strong demand for private associations outside of campus."

Smiley also said that those fraternities who promote the "true" values of a fraternity and not the "animal house" culture are very popular.

Smiley said that, according to recent studies, high school juniors and seniors still list greek life as the top extracurricular activity they plan to pursue in college.

"If all other fraternities on campus are having a hard time recruiting a major reason is because they, like ATO, are offering a sub-standard version of fraternity that is not attractive to students," Smiley said. "Those chapters that continue to ignore reality and blame the system are destined to end up like ATO at Ball State."

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