Formerly suspended ATO resumes limited operations, Kappa Sigma under review


Image: Laurel Huster

ATO is allowed to meet on campus this semester, but they cannot live in the house.

Rose Scoggins, Staff Writer

After having their operations suspended and being removed from their on-campus houses, Alpha Tau Omega fraternities is operating in a limited capacity. Kappa Sigma is currently under university review.

According to a Cluster article written in August 2016 , the two fraternities were suspended for the 2016-2017 academic year due to “violations of the Student Code of Conduct related to alcohol.”

The sanctions imposed on the two fraternities included the suspension and “specific action steps they could take to begin the process for returning,” Pearson said. The sanctions and steps were outlined in a letter to both fraternities. When asked to provide those letters to clarify the sanctions for the purpose of this article, both organizations declined.

Vice President and Dean of Students, Douglas Pearson provided a statement via email on the status of the two fraternities.

Both groups appear to have abided by the sanctions (primarily the suspension) and to have taken the recommended action steps…”

— Dean of Students Douglas Pearson

“Both groups appear to have abided by the sanctions (primarily the suspension) and to have taken the recommended action steps. ATO has already met with me and has been approved to begin operations in a limited capacity this spring. Kappa [Sigma] just submitted their information and are currently under review.”

Pearson clarified that “neither group will be permitted to be “‘fully back” — meaning things like being back in their houses — but are permitted to engage in limited operations such as business meetings, philanthropy events and limited recruitment as part of the process for returning.

Pearson added that it was his goal to have both chapters fully operating next fall.

Alpha Tau Omega’s suspension was lifted by Pearson on Jan. 8. According to the Alpha Tau Omega at Mercer University Facebook page, the organization has already elected a new executive board.

The board includes President Brandon Tran, Vice President John Morris, Chris Scrivner as chaplain, Treasurer Tyler Winslett and Jacob Pate as a new member educator. Other members include Secretary Timothy Deremer, Nathan Falls as historian, Caleb Brown in risk management, Spencer Williams for recruitment responsibilities and Ponch Chantha, who is in charge of social aspects.

The fraternity also shared on the page that they volunteered with the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission by picking up trash and hosted Spring rush events to recruit new members.

“I am extremely impressed with the steps that Alpha Tau Omega has taken to improve risk management and chapter operations,” said Assistant Director of Campus Life, Scotty Rainwater.

The newly-elected Alpha Tau Omega executive board declined to give a statement on their progress and events since being approved to begin limited operations. “Although we appreciate [The Cluster] showing us in a better light now, the article would inevitably bring up the past, which we don’t want to do,” said Vice President John Morris.

Alpha Tau Omega must continue to work on “additional requirements in order to return to full operation in Fall 2017 to include regaining the chapter house,” Rainwater said.

Along with Alpha Tau Omega, Kappa Sigma has also been working on their sanctions to return. When asked about giving a statement on the progress Kappa Sigma has been making this year, President Oscar Martinez declined by saying “[it was] advised to us that we don’t speak to the press.”

Mitchell Wilson, executive director of Kappa Sigma Fraternity International, offered a statement about the progress of the organization.

“I am very pleased to inform you that the Alpha-Beta Chapter of Kappa Sigma had a very productive Fall Semester and are in the process of implementing their plans and goals for the Spring semester. We look forward to receiving positive reports from these men for the Spring semester,” Wilson said.