The University of Idaho chapter of Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) has plans to reclaim its house on Greek Row in spring 2016, according to Jaden Brown, ATO national representative.
The anticipated return comes after ATO left its house nearly three years ago due to a lack of membership following the expulsion of 22 members in fall 2012.
According to Brittany Bowles, UI director of fraternity and sorority life, although ATO has been confirmed to come back in 2016, she does not yet know if the fraternity will move back into its house because it is up to the national organization. She also said hasn’t communicated with ATO national representatives about the fraternity moving into its old house.
Lindsay Gorrill, UI student who was an ATO member and granted alumni status, said fraternity members went on a non-sanctioned camping trip in fall 2012 that led to 20 minor in possession citations. After the incident, he said the fraternity endured internal investigations with nationals.
ATO National Fraternity Chief Executive Officer Wynn Smiley said he took action against the members who weren’t upholding the principles of ATO, and 22 members were expelled from the fraternity.
Gorrill said ATO didn’t get thrown off campus or shut down by UI, but rather there were many operational reasons the fraternity left. He said ATO didn’t lose funds from anywhere outside of the house, it just didn’t have enough members to pay rent or other bills, which is why the fraternity lost its house.
“Technically, we didn’t get kicked off,” Gorrill said. “We just lost so many members we couldn’t stay afloat.”
The UI Interfraternity Council voted to allow ATO to recolonize in 2016, according to Jordyn Wright, who was the UI assistant Greek advisor the year ATO’s house was leased to a larger fraternity.
Gorrill believes ATO will reclaim the house at 777 South Deakin Ave. based on a Snapchat sent to the 12 remaining members by Brown last September. The communication said ATOs are taking back the house in 2016, and featured a picture of the house the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity currently occupies.
Gorrill said the house was leased to Pi Kappa Phi for two years in fall 2013. He said it’s comforting to know the house would likely be there in the future so he can come back for Homecoming events and to visit his fraternity brothers.
“One of the biggest bummers of the house getting leased off to another fraternity is that you can’t come back and hang out there,” Gorrill said. “I had my first three years of college here and that was great, and after that I couldn’t even visit the house.”
Gorrill said he knows ATO won’t be the same as it was in the past, and hopes it will change in positive ways to make it a good experience for new students who join the fraternity.
“I’m really excited, and I’m interested to see how things will change, because it’s obviously not going to be the same as when I was there,” Gorrill said. “I’m glad to see they’re coming back.”
Jamie Lunders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jazzdanae