Phi Kappa Tau in Boulder

colorado.phikappatau.org

More than eight years after Boulder's Phi Kappa Tau was shut down by its national organization for conduct violations including underage drinking, the fraternity is back in Boulder with a new charter.

Phi Kappa Tau hosted a "charting ceremony" last weekend and initiated nearly 40 men into the regenerated Psi chapter in Boulder, said Tim Hudson, director of chapter services at the fraternity's national headquarters.

"We're excited to be back in Boulder and in that Greek community," Hudson said. "This is a completely new group of men. Their conduct will continue to reflect the values of the organization and of the Greek community."

Phi Kappa Tau, founded in Boulder in 1924, was the fourth Boulder fraternity to close after the 2004 drinking death of freshman pledge Lynn "Gordie" Bailey Jr. In October 2005, the fraternity's national office revoked the local charter because of conduct violations and all members living in the house at 1150 College Ave. at the time were forced to move out.

Boulder's fraternities cut ties with the university following Bailey's death because they refused to hire live-in advisers and delay recruitment until spring semester.

Phi Kappa Tau national officials would not say in 2005 why the fraternity's charter was revoked, but said they were investigating safety concerns and violations to the fraternity's risk-management policy.

The fraternity closed shortly after several underage women were hospitalized after for alcohol-related problems after attending parties at Phi Kappa Tau and another fraternity, Sigma Pi.

In 2010, the fraternity began the rebuilding process by forming an interest group approved by the Interfraternity Council, an off-campus organization that's not affiliated with the university but recruits CU students.

Now-senior and chapter president Zach Eiten was one of the first Phi Kappa Tau interest group members as a freshman. He said the men in the Boulder chapter today are "complete, 180-degree opposites" from the men in the fraternity in 2005.

"In 2010 when I was a freshman I elected to start it back up with some guys I had met in the dorms," Eiten said. "These guys only want the best. They want to be true fraternity men. They're driven, hardworking guys that want to leave a legacy. They're not being handed an experience where you can slide through the cracks. They're all being leaders."

The fraternity has been an associate member of the Interfraternity Council for the last year, said CU Greek advocate Marc Stine. Associate members have all the privileges of full membership in the council, Stine said, but cannot vote or elect officers.

The next step is for the newly chartered fraternity to apply for full voting membership in the Interfraternity Council, Stine said.

Stine said he was pleased with Phi Kappa Tau's turnaround.

"It's a completely different set of students with much more involvement by their local alumni," he said. "They're doing a lot of good things like a fraternity is supposed to, which they weren't doing before they lost their charter."

Phi Kappa Tau still owns the house at 1150 College Ave. and has been renting it out to another Boulder fraternity, Stine said. Phi Kappa Tau will move back into that house next year.

Notable Phi Kappa Tau alumni include former CU Board of Regents member and state senator Hugh Fowler, who along with his nephew Ames Fowler supported the re-charting of the fraternity, Hudson said.

Ames Fowler is the Board of Governors chairman for the fraternity, Hudson said.

"We don't expand or return to locations unless we have a great group of alumni volunteers who can support the effort of the young men in the group," Hudson said.

Contact Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta.