MIT’s chapter of Alpha Tau Omega had a trying year in 2009. After losing its housing license in summer 2008, the fraternity was granted a housing license for six occupants in June by the Cambridge Licensing Commission (CLC), only to be expelled from the Interfraternity Council (IFC) — and from MIT — in September. An incident in May 2009 involving “underage consumption” and a “failure to provide emergency medical assistance” was the incident responsible for the expulsion, according to minutes of a September 2 IFC meeting.
The brothers of ATO had been through much after losing their house in 2008 after a pipe burst and flooded it, including living in MacGregor suite lounges for the fall 2008 term, multiple hearings and appeals with the Cambridge Licensing Commission, and the loss of accreditation from the Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG), before ultimately being expelled.
ATO moved out of MacGregor at the start of last year’s spring term — nearly a semester after they were originally set to move back into their Dorm Row house. Repairs to the ATO house were incomplete at the time of their move, so brothers were assigned to rooms in various other dorms and fraternities around campus. The fraternity planned to move into their house in late March or early April 2009, assuming an appeal to the CLC completed successfully.
But that appeal was postponed until May when housing repairs were still incomplete in March. During the time between the start of spring term and ATO’s CLC hearing, the fraternity failed to regain AILG accreditation for the spring term, which was acting as an informal requirement for attaining the housing license. ATO had lost accreditation for the fall term.
At the CLC hearing, despite high hopes, the CLC voted to further postpone the hearing to renew the housing license until June. The CLC cited in the May decision that they wanted to see a more concrete plan from the fraternity for house management.
ATO was finally granted its long-sought-after license in a unanimous decision at the June hearing. The decision came with several restrictions for ATO: namely, that they follow their own rules, including an alcohol ban until February 2010 and monthly inspections by ATO’s Alumni Board and by MIT. Furthermore, only six members were allowed to live in the house.
ATO’s luck turned on August 27, 2009, when, around one week before fall 2009 Rush, the fraternity was expelled from the IFC. The expulsion stemmed from a sanction placed on the fraternity in fall 2008 after ATO had violated Rush alcohol regulations. The sanction, in an agreement between ATO and the IFC, was a “one and done” policy on ATO, where certain violations would result in the revocation of membership. An incident in May 2009 violated the “one and done” policy and resulted in the expulsion.
With its expulsion from MIT, MIT’s chapter of ATO was also derecognized by the national fraternity. According to the national fraternity, brothers of the MIT chapter are still recognized as alumni, but the chapter itself is no longer recognized as active. The national chapter purchased two advertisements in The Tech following ATO’s derecognition to emphasize ATO’s stripped status.
ATO is ineligible to re-apply to become an MIT fraternity until August 27, 2019. Following ATO’s expulsion, the IFC approved Sigma Alpha Epsilon — expelled from MIT twice in the past — as an associate member. The process of becoming a full member of the IFC is estimated to take around three years.