Tau Kappa Epsilon eyes MU return

The MU chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon dissolved in the early 1990s.

The MU chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon plans to return to campus after it was dissolved in the early 1990s due to an inability to pay national dues, fraternity President Robb Loran said this week.

Hoping to recruit members, the fraternity held four events this week, including informational meetings on campus, flag football matches and a trip to local dance club, culminating tonight with a Bid Night event in the General Classroom Building.

Loran said he hopes to recruit enough members this year to occupy a house by fall 2007.

Tau Kappa Epsilon, which started its first MU chapter house in 1947, was "the biggest social fraternity nationwide," and "the dominant fraternity in the 1950s and '60s," Loran said.

He said the national organization dissolved its MU chapter between 1992 and 1993, but that he did not know when the fraternity stopped activities on campus.

It is the second fraternity this year to actively pursue restarting its membership, along with Sigma Chi, which is holding recruiting events this weekend.

Sigma Chi was suspended from campus in 2002 for hazing charges that included making pledges drink from a spittoon and shave without shaving cream.

"TKE is further along in the process than Sigma Chi," Interfraternity Council President Dan Fletcher said. "That's because they don't have restrictions placed on their recolonization."

Last week, Fletcher said Sigma Chi faced a specific list of qualifications because of the hazing charges, but both fraternities faced a gauntlet of requirements before initiation.

"Their next step is to present to the Interfraternity Council their proposal for membership," Fletcher said.

Fletcher said each new fraternity had to organize goals and a mission for its chapter and submit them to the council for approval.

"They have to be transparent about their constitution and their bylaws," Fletcher said. "Basically, they're trying to convince us to accept them."

Neither fraternity said it was interacting with the other during the process of initiation.

"There isn't any degree of coordination between them," said Sigma Chi chapter development adviser Andy Kassel. "We are not coordinating with any of the other houses."

Kassel said the onset of new fraternities is an example of how chapters might not meet the expectations of students.

"We do feel that to an extent, the Greek system isn't offering what people are looking for," Kassel said. "Not that it's something new, but something different."

Fletcher disagreed and said popularity for Greek life is high across the country.

"Over the last five years, Greek life nationwide has seen a pretty wide increase," Fletcher said. "It was an increase of 8 percent per year, and that's a sharp contrast to Greek Life in the 1990s, where memberships dropped dramatically."

Tau Kappa Epsilon's initiation of the founding-father class is planned for March 12.

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