USC fraternity charter revoked for a year

12/04/2012 2:07 PM

12/04/2012 5:10 PM

Alpha Tau Omega, one of the oldest fraternities on the University of South Carolina campus, will have its charter revoked for a year in 2013 and reorganize in 2014, the fraternity's national chief executive said Tuesday.

The agreement was reached with the school, which withdrew recognition of ATO this spring, fraternity chief executive Wynn Smiley said.

The fraternity was kicked off campus after a police search of the ATO house turned up drugs last year, The Daily Gamecock student newspaper reported. The chapter also was among several cited for violating alcohol policies during rush last year.

Smiley said the charter revocation had nothing to do with the 118-year-old chapter's remaining 70 members: "They have been exemplary."

ATO has met at various spots off campus this year, said chapter president Brett Bowman, who expects members still on campus in 2014 to help reorganize the fraternity. He credited the backing of the national organization for keeping open the chapter -- one of the fraternity's five oldest in the nation.

"It's a testament to the guys in the room," Bowman said. "We tried everything to stay as long as we could."

The charter revocation will allow ATO recolonize two years sooner than originally planned. The chapter was banished by the school until 2016 under the original punishment handed down earlier this year, Smiley said.

Gamecocks football head coach Steve Spurrier was an ATO member at Florida. USC star running back Marcus Lattimore accepted a bid to the fraternity early this year but was not initiated, Bowman said.

At least two other USC fraternities have been disciplined in the past year, according to reports from The Daily Gamecock: Sigma Phi Epsilon was closed by its national office and Lambda Chi Alpha left its house after the national office removed a majority of the chapter’s members.

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