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|Alpha Tau Omega|
|Founded||September 11, 1865|
Virginia Military Institute
|Slogan||Love & Respect|
|Colors||Azure Blue |
|Chapters||141 active, 250 chartered|
|Nicknames||ATO, Alpha Tau, Tau|
|Headquarters||333 N. Alabama Street, Suite 220|
Alpha Tau Omega (), commonly known as ATO, is an American social fraternity founded at the Virginia Military Institute in 1865. The fraternity has around 250 active and inactive chapters and colonies in the United States and has initiated more than 250,000 members. VMI Cadets are no longer associated with the fraternity. In 1885, the VMI Board of Visitors ruled that cadets could no longer join fraternities based on the belief that allegiance to a fraternal group undermined the cohesiveness of and loyalty to the Corps of Cadets.
Alpha Tau Omega represents one-third of the Lexington Triad, along with Kappa Alpha Order and Sigma Nu. The Fraternity does not have chapters or affiliations outside the United States. The fraternity's non-profit organization is The ATO Foundation, which provides scholarships to its members.
Alpha Tau Omega was founded at the Virginia Military Institute on September 11, 1865, by Otis Allan Glazebrook, Erskine Mayo Ross, and Alfred Marshall. Glazebrook's plan was to use Christian brotherly love as a way to help facilitate reconciliation between the North and South in the aftermath of the American Civil War.
Following Glazebrook, Marshall and Ross, there are two others who are considered "second founders": Thomas Arkle Clark, the first Dean of education at the University of Illinois who served the national fraternity president for all or parts of four terms, and Joseph R. Anderson who was president during a membership crisis.
Previous Headquarters have been located in Champaign, Illinois. Currently the National Fraternity is located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
Alpha Tau Omega has three publications, The Palm, which is the fraternity's semi-annual general magazine; ATO Leader, which is a bimonthly newsletter for chapter presidents and other organization leaders; and ATO Roadshow, which is a website designed to highlight individual chapter accomplishments and combat negative perceptions of fraternities.
The fraternity holds several retreats and training conferences: Altitude, Encounter, Valiant, President's Retreat, and Emerging Leaders Conference.
Altitude is a rigorous leadership program designed to challenge ATO brothers physically, mentally and emotionally. The six-day adventure is spent backpacking the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains with the goal of peaking a 14,000 foot summit. Throughout the trip, truths involving leadership are reinforced. The week out West is designed to inspire men to lead their chapters more effectively.
Encounter is a three-day retreat designed to allow brothers to explore or deepen their spiritual identity. Through the retreat, brothers will focus on Glazebrook's belief that unconditional love as exemplified by Jesus is a powerful and regenerating dynamic.
Valiant Leadership Training program guides nearly 100 members through values-based curriculum on how to lead with integrity. The intense programming places strong emphasis on basic components of effective leadership, communication, ethics, goal setting and teamwork.
Participants must be in good standing with their chapter in order to participate in Altitude, Encounter, and Valiant programming.
President's Retreat, held every January in Indianapolis, is geared to better ensure that every ATO chapter President is prepared to take on his role and responsibilities. The weekend conference is packed with general leadership and chapter management information as well as unique opportunities to address individual chapter issues and initiatives. The Conference has evolved over time to now incorporate every Chapter President, Vice President, and Membership Educator.
Emerging Leaders Conferences is held every year in more than 20 cities across the United States serving almost 3,000 undergraduate members. The day-long program is designed to reinforce ATO for a Lifetime and demonstrate the benefits of belonging to a strong National Fraternity. Emerging Leaders Conference is designed to help every brother appreciate the importance of enhancing and strengthening their chapter experience.
In addition to these, LeaderShape was started in 1986 by the fraternity, and was exclusive to members until 1988. LeaderShape was spun off into its own organization which holds week-long leadership and networking retreats for college-age students.
In 1935, Erskine Mayo Ross started the Alpha Tau Omega Foundation with a donation of $5,000. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that provides educational opportunities and scholarships for the members of Alpha Tau Omega. Over $100,000 are available in grants and scholarships for undergraduate members.
Richmond Property Group, RPG, is designed to offer full scale professional property management to preserve and protect the real estate assets of ATO. RPG handles many housing related inquiries for undergraduate chapters; these can range from design and material selection to budgeting and collections. RPG works with a network of lenders around the country to assist in capital improvements, renovations, and construction projects.
In 2018, the fraternity at the University of Kentucky had its charter revoked after a pledge's DUI arrest following a traffic accident where a four-year-old boy was killed. This incident occurred after an off-campus fraternity sponsored tailgate party for a UK football game.
In 2017, the fraternity at the University of Memphis was suspended for five years due to hazing pledges and not complying with other university rules. The same year, the fraternity at Texas State University was suspended for three years after a student had an alcohol-related death at a party they co-hosted with other fraternities. Also in 2017, the fraternity at the University of Central Florida was suspended after a woman was raped by two men during one of their parties. The 2017 suspension was the fraternity's third suspension in five years.
In 2015, the fraternity at Indiana University-Bloomington was shut down after a sex tape surfaced involving a fraternity member engaging in sex acts with a female stripper while his fraternity brothers watched and cheered him on.
In 2012, the fraternity at the University of Central Florida was suspended for hazing pledges,[further explanation needed] including forcing one pledge to stand in a bucket of ice water while fraternity members beat him.
In 2008, the chapter at University of Nevada, Reno was put on suspension following controversy over hazing practices. As many as eleven pledges were forced to seek medical attention following their forced consumption of raw chicken, and the branding of the Greek letter Omega on their buttocks using dry ice.