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Despite Suspensions from the CLC KS, ATO Enjoy Successful Rushes

By Jennifer B. Krishnan and Brian M. Loux

After a number of incidents at Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Sigma in recent years, the Cambridge License Commission last March sought to punish the houses with a suspension during rush. What resulted, however, was a rush for the two fraternities that outshined most of the rushes of the other independent living groups.

In a slow rush year with pledging down significantly from last year, ATO received 15 pledges, up three from last year. Kappa Sig received 21 pledges, the greatest number received by any fraternity this year.

The two houses had different reactions to their respective successes. Among the surprised was Kappa Sig Rush Chair Kevin T. Weston ’03. Kappa Sig had a goal of 15 pledges, said Weston, “but we were prepared for much fewer.”

ATO Rush Chair Ken Takase ’01, however, expected that his house would do as well as previous years. Takase said the CLC’s sanctions were “more of an inconvenience than a big disadvantage.”

New strategy aids rush

Kappa Sig and ATO were punished for prior alcohol and party violations. ATO was suspended by the CLC as the result of a raucous New Year’s Eve party, while Kappa Sig was suspended following the hospitalization of a partygoer last fall. The two houses’ histories of violations were also a factor in the CLC’s decision.

A change in strategy appears to be behind Kappa Sig’s and ATO’s surprisingly successful rush this fall. Banned from their houses by the CLC for the duration of rush, the fraternities were forced to deviate from their usual rush schedules.

Without the use of their houses, the two fraternities had to rush from hotels. Kappa Sig rushed from the University Park Hotel, while ATO rushed from the Royal Sonesta near the Cambridgeside Galleria.

Weston attributes Kappa Sig’s high pledge numbers to the houses’ new approach to rush. “We weren’t trying to sell the house,” he said. “We were trying to sell the people that lived in it.”

In some cases, the suspensions made the two houses more attractive to freshmen. A number of freshmen voiced the concern that MIT would be all work and no play, and saw the two houses as places that were far from the stereotype.

“The cover article of The Tech that mentioned Kappa Sig put the fraternity on the map for me. I had some concerns after reading the article, but the brothers addressed all those issues,” said Matthew D. Richards ’04, a pledge for Kappa Sig.

Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean of residence and campus activities, felt that rush went well for Kappa Sig and ATO because the houses worked harder. “Whatever it is you do to make rush work, they did more of it,” Dorow said.

IFC President Damien A. Brosnan ’01 agreed. “I thought it would be difficult,” he said, “but their goals were attainable.” He felt that the two houses showed “strong brotherhood” in coming together to make the best of their circumstances.

One of the biggest concerns of the IFC and the two houses during rush was shuttling and camping. Camping is when a member of one fraternity waits outside another house for a freshman. In general, the fraternity has 15 minutes to produce that freshman. The IFC proposed an amendment to extend this time by five minutes for ATO and Kappa Sig, due to the extra time required to shuttle freshman back and forth.

“There were a few bugs the first day,” said Russell L. Spieler ’01, IFC Judicial Committee Chair. However, the two houses were soon able to smooth things out.