ATO Departs MacGregor, Repairs To Their House Not Yet Finished

The Alpha Tau Omega house, damaged last summer from a pipe leak, has completed repairs and is undergoing inspections. ATO plans to move into the house in late March to early April, pending housing approval by the Cambridge Licensing Commission.

ATO plans to present to the CLC for a housing license in mid-March. The CLC hears cases twice monthly, and if ATO is granted a housing license, they would be eligible to move back into the house as soon as the decision is made.

Most of the ATO brothers were housed two per room in MacGregor House suite lounges for the duration of the repairs. They began to move out of the lounges earlier this week and plan to complete moving out today. They were placed in available rooms in different dorms around campus, including Next House, New House, MacGregor, Burton Connor, East Campus, and Senior House.

ATO members living in MacGregor first semester were charged the price of a double. The first installment of funds, approximately $4000, went to the Housemaster’s Account and were then distributed to the affected entries. The second installment, approximately $32,000, will likely be dispersed partly to MacGregor as a whole and partly to the affected entries, said Sarah Scott ’09, MacGregor treasurer.

ATO brothers living elsewhere ­— including Baker House and other independent living groups — were also billed accordingly. Members will individually be billed the cost of housing for the specific dorm they are assigned.

There have been “no specific issues, besides the discomfort that comes with crowding,” said Kristen Felch ’09, president of MacGregor last semester.

“We’ve all made friends on our floors,” added Chisoanya O. Ibegbu ’09, current president of ATO. “Things have been fine. We haven’t had any incidents.”

ATO was included as a part of the MacGregor community during its stay, said Professor Munther A. Dahleh, MacGregor housemaster. Study breaks held early on in fall term were held to “facilitate interactions between ATOs and MacGregor students,” and, aside from the loss of lounge space, MacGregor resources were not affected.

Felch said that the extra rent paid by ATO allowed MacGregor to accommodate them during dorm events.

ATO has been periodically holding its own meetings and dinners in MacGregor and has tried to retain its sense of identity despite the lack of a house.

“Even though we’re all in the same building, we still don’t see each other that much since we’re still spread out, but we still try to do as much as we can to keep the brotherhood aspect strong,” said DeRon M. Brown ’10, incoming president of ATO.

Since ATO finds itself even more splintered in the spring than in the fall, brotherhood will be a particular focus for the fraternity this term.

“We had just been holding on, thinking that we would ride out the storm for a while, and then bring back the brotherhood aspect once in the house,” said Ibegbu. “Now that we see it’s going to be an extended period, we’re going to attack it more and use more of our funding within the house, such as for brotherhood retreats, dinners outside of the house, and events exclusively for us.”

Ibegbu expressed no hard feelings towards MacGregor and was thankful for the dorm’s generosity.

“[MacGregor] compromised with us that we would only be here one term, and now it’s just our time to leave,” he said.

Although ATO originally planned to move back to their house in October, completion of the repairs was delayed due to insurance negotiations. The damage was caused by a pipe leak in the fifth floor bathroom over the summer, which resulted in extensive water damage to the house. The damage was discovered when the water tripped a fire alarm.

The Delta Kappa Epsilon pipe burst over winter break was unrelated to the ATO incident, as the houses are not connected, and was caused by a frozen pipe.