ATO Completes Repair To House; Expects CLC Housing License Today

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Belfor Property Restoration trucks are seen in front of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity midday on Saturday, July 26, 2008. Summer residents of ATO had to be relocated after a water pipe burst, causing water damage to the interior structure of the building.
David M. Templeton—The Tech File Photo

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: The Tuesday, May 12 article about Alpha Tau Omega potentially regaining its housing license incorrectly reported that ATO had been recommended for accreditation by MIT's Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG). ATO was reviewed by the AILG during its spring 2009 accreditation review cycle, but it was not recommended for accreditation.

The Alpha Tau Omega fraternity may regain the housing license to its house on Memorial Drive, depending on the results of tonight’s Cambridge License Commission meeting.

ATO received a Certificate of Occupancy from the Cambridge Licensing Commission several weeks ago, which allows three brothers to live in the house, according to president DeRon M. Brown ’10.

The housing license would allow all the members to move back into house. ATO expected to receive the housing license in March, but the process was delayed by unanticipated repairs to bring the house up to code. The fraternity remains splintered, its members staying in various dorms and apartments.

ATO’s house was initially damaged when a pipe burst over the summer. But the house is so old that after one problem is fixed, another often crops up, Brown said. “We kept having to redo a lot of things to bring [the house] up to code, because ATO is now at the very top level of code it can be,” Brown said. “It is an old building, there were a lot of repairs, and the initial time estimates were inaccurate.”

All renovations for the house are now complete, and Brown expects that ATO will receive the housing license at tonight’s hearing. “We have met everything the CLC had asked us to do at the last meeting, made the necessary changes, upgraded to the correct code … we don’t see why we wouldn’t get the license,” he said.

Brown, ATO House Manager Justin D. Myers ’11, and ATO Resident Adviser Ovid C. Amadi G were permitted to move back into the house when ATO received the Certificate of Occupancy, which allows three residents to live in the house. Brown said that the three protect the house and use it to hold meetings.

Twenty-five ATO brothers are currently living in on-campus housing, according to Brown. Several other brothers rented apartments because they felt “dorm life was not ideal for them,” Brown said. Brown said that those renting the apartments expect to move back into the house when the housing license is approved.

Though the fraternity no longer lives under one roof, the brothers worked to keep operations normal and hold fraternity-wide events. “It has been difficult at first, but we’ve continued to say that the house does not make the fraternity,” Brown said.

Having no house, he said, was not an excuse to lose the cohesiveness of the fraternity. No brother has de-affiliated from the fraternity because of the housing issues.

Whether or not ATO will be open for summer housing is unclear, Brown said. Though ATO has purchased new pieces of furniture for the house, they might not be ready by the time summer residents would arrive.

During the fall semester and IAP, the brothers lived in MacGregor House suite lounges. This arrangement allowed the fraternity to stick together. ATO moved out in February, dispersing to other dorms.

ATO was re-accredited by the MIT Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG) last Thursday, which examined factors including alumni support and overall health of the fraternity. This was informally required for ATO to be able to re-apply for the housing license, Brown said.

The Tech incorrectly reported Friday that ATO had lost their national fraternity charter. The reporting was based off of the January 20, 2009 minutes of the CLC. Ms. Elizabeth Lint, who commented in the minutes that ATO had lost their parent charter, said that she may have confused losing the charter with ATO not having AILG accreditation.