One of the University's oldest existing sororities withdrew from the rush process on Tuesday.

Zeta Tau Alpha, part of the University community since 1915, has had recent trouble recruiting pledges and therefore decided to discontinue holding rush functions this semester, said Trinity senior Tracy Whitener, ZTA president.

"We're disappointed," Whitener said. "Despite all the positives we have to offer, we didn't seem to reach people."

In February 1990 Kappa Delta sorority members were given alumnae status when they were unable to recruit enough pledges in the formal rush process. The sorority discontinued functioning as an active chapter.

There was one woman who was invited back to ZTA only, said Trinity senior Marni Allen, Panhel vice president for rush. The freshman was cut from the rush process, Allen said. About 90 women have dropped out of formal rush.

Panhel was supportive of ZTA's decision to withdraw from formal rush, and members of the council thought that their withdrawal was in no way a reflection on the entire rush process, said Trinity senior Sharon Brenner, Panhel vice president of business rush.

"I know there were rushees interested in ZTA," she said.

ZTA may be the victim of fewer women rushing sororities. During the past several years, the number of rushees at the University has declined. Last spring, three sororities failed to fill their pledge classes.

This fall, 465 women signed up for rush, 40 more than last year.

Women on campus may have another rushing option next spring. Panhel recently named Theta Beta Sigma the University's 11th sorority. With 40 members, it may hold its first formal rush by next spring if it affiliates with a national chapter.

The sorority plans to brainstorm different ideas to increase the number of pledges. "We're tossing around a lot of ideas," Whitener said.

ZTA is considering holding a separate rush later this semester, said Mary McDonald, ZTA national president. "Rather than continue through rush with numbers declining, we could do a better job through other ways of recruiting," McDonald said.

"This is a real important campus for us and a real prestigious one," she said.

Panhel will also support ZTA's efforts to recruit members. "We will definitely be supporting and helping ZTA as much as they want us to," Brenner said.

ZTA will remain an active chapter on campus for existing members of the sorority, Whitener said. The chapter has planned a full calendar for this semester, including semiformals and several service projects, she said.

The head of ZTA is unsure why the sorority has failed to keep recruitment numbers high. "What we offered might not be what women are looking for," Whitener said. She also said that stereotypes, both good and bad, may have contributed to the decline of interest among women.

The national organization supported the local chapter's decision to withdraw from the rush process. "I'm impressed with the maturity of our young women," McDonald said.

With the number of women still involved in rush, the rest of the sororities should be able to meet their quotas, Allen said.