AG Ferguson: Sorority must provide more than $500k in relief for housing fees it unlawfully charged UW students

Friday, July 8, 2022

Alpha Omicron Pi - UW
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced this week that Alpha Omicron Pi, a national sorority, must refund or waive the housing fees it unlawfully charged dozens of University of Washington students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The sorority charged thousands of dollars in housing fees in 2020 and 2021, even though COVID-19 prevented the students from accessing sorority housing — a violation of Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency eviction moratorium.

The Attorney General’s Office learned of the case after 13 UW students complained to Ferguson’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium enforcement team.

In a declaration in support of Ferguson’s case, one student wrote, “It did not feel fair that I would be required to pay for the bills of the chapter house when I could not live there… At the time, I lived paycheck to paycheck and worked part-time jobs on top of my classes. I was not the only person in a tight financial situation. I knew other sisters who lost their retail jobs during the pandemic as well. But whenever we raised these health and financial concerns with our alumni advisors, we were told to focus on ‘sisterhood.’”

Under the consent decree, a legally enforceable document filed in King County Superior Court, the sorority must refund and/or waive the unlawful housing fees. The sorority must notify the students within 30 days that they no longer owe the sorority the unlawful housing fees charged during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Alpha Omicron Pi charged at least 68 students the unlawful housing fees. If a student paid any amount of the unlawful charges, they will receive full reimbursement. The Attorney General’s Office will contact eligible students about their reimbursements. Students will receive full reimbursements and/or waivers for any unlawful housing fees the sorority assessed against them from spring quarter 2020 through the 2021 school year — a total of more than $500,000 in relief.

The Attorney General’s Office will distribute the refunds as soon as possible after reviewing the sorority’s invoices. If you were charged unlawful housing fees and have questions about the reimbursement process, please email the Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Division at

“This sorority took advantage of students, charging them thousands of dollars for housing they could not access or use,” Ferguson said. “Alpha Omicron Pi’s actions were clear violations of the protections put in place to protect Washingtonians from the spread of COVID-19. Thanks to the students who spoke up and brought this to our attention, the sorority must cancel or refund these unlawful fees.”
More information here


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