The Cambridge License Commission (CLC) granted the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity a housing license on Thursday, June 4, though ATO continues to navigate the rocky waters of university fraternity bureaucracy.
ATO President DeRon M. Brown ’10 said in an e-mail: “It really feels great that our lodging license was finally approved. It was a very long process in which we worked very hard to complete the necessary steps to regain approval.”
Having had the license for only a week, ATO already opened summer housing for six residents, said Brown.
In previous years ATO has had up to 52 summer residents, said ATO Resident Adviser Ovid C. Amadi G in an e-mail.
Brown is confident that ATO can continue to operate with a sustainable budget despite reduced summer housing revenue.
After losing its housing license last summer when a pipe burst and flooded their house, ATO had been performing repairs on the pipe and other unexpected problems.
The CLC’s license approval is conditional on ATO following the alcohol rules set with MIT, restraining from using the roof, undergoing monthly inspections by the alumni board and MIT, and setting up inspections with the Cambridge Fire Department. The CLC plans to reexamine the decision in six months.
ATO Lacks AILG Accreditation
ATO’s recent housing license victory is a rare bright spot after a year of challenges.
For the past two semesters, MIT’s Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG), has not recommended ATO for accreditation. (The AILG is a group of FSILG alumni that advises current FSILG members.)
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) JudComm, is sanctioning ATO for an underage drinking incident during last fall’s Rush.
But, the Division of Student Life (DSL) does not have “any motives to remove ATO,” said Kaya Miller, assistant dean of FSILGs and Residential Programs.
“ATO is fully recognized by MIT. They are under sanction by the IFC, but they aren’t the only fraternity under sanctions, so this is not unfamiliar with us,” Miller said.
The AILG’s reports were sent to DSL, which has been working closely with the ATO undergraduates and alumni board to help them address the weaknesses identified in the reports, said Miller.
DSL’s role is to help fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups stay “performing at top level,” Miller said. DSL has suggested 15 tasks to ATO, including making sure taxes are up to date, to help them reach this goal.
Miller said that in general, DSL dislikes making such decisions. Rather, the derecognition of a fraternity from MIT would normally be decided by the IFC JudComm or through the disaffiliation of a chapter from its national organization.
The last MIT fraternity to be derecognized was Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), which was also held responsible for an underage drinking incident. SAE was derecognized by the MIT Dean’s Office in November 1999.
Miller also said that the CLC’s approval of ATO’s housing license does not affect its standing with DSL, apparently referring to the fact that non-residential FSILGs can remain in good standing with DSL despite not owning houses.
Brown, the ATO president, believes that by working closely with its alumni board and the FSILG Office, ATO will be able to obtain accreditation.