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December 17, 2012

NIU announces charges against Pi Kappa Alpha

DeKALB, Ill. -- Northern Illinois University has announced pending judicial charges for the NIU chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha ("Pikes") fraternity and 31 individual students who are facing charges of violating NIU's Student Code of Conduct stemming from the death of freshman David Bogenberger.

Bogenberger was found deceased on the morning of Nov. 2, 2012, at the Pike fraternity house located at 1020 W. Hillcrest in DeKalb. According to a DeKalb police department press release, toxicology results from the DeKalb County Coroner indicated “a highly-elevated blood alcohol content about five times the legal limit.” DeKalb police indicated alcohol intoxication significantly contributed to the cardiac arrhythmia that apparently caused Bogenberger’s death.

Northern Illinois University has clear and distinct policies regarding fraternity and sorority social events. Violations of NIU’s policies result in university sanctions ranging from a reprimand to expulsion for students who are found to have violated NIU’s Code of Community & Student Standards & Conduct. An investigation by the NIU Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct into the events preceding Bogenberger’s death revealed that the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity hosted an unsanctioned social event for 19 pledges on the evening of Nov. 1. Fraternity leaders did not officially register this event with their national chapter or Northern Illinois University. 

NIU policy requires all Greek social events to be registered in advance with NIU’s Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD). Registration materials must be submitted no later than five business days prior to the proposed event, and NIU Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development approval is required to proceed with the event. Individual fraternity/sorority chapters are responsible for ensuring that spontaneous, informal social activities that include the consumption of alcohol do not evolve into social events exceeding registration numbers.

For Greek organizations to host a social event including alcohol, regardless of location, a minimum of 51 percent of the membership must participate in a mandatory training program coordinated by NIU’s Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development. At the beginning of each school year, NIU’s Office of SILD, along with the University Police and Office of Health Enhancement, provide training to members of the Greek community. The training addresses the university’s social policy, party monitoring tips, how to register a social event, how to manage risk and general alcohol education information.

NIU provides alcohol education specifically to members of the Greek community through the GET HINTS (Gaining Effective Techniques and Having Information Necessary to Help Student Peers) program. This program includes information on blood alcohol content, alcohol’s effect on the body, alcohol poisoning, responsible drinking, hosting a party with alcohol, at-risk behaviors, signs of intoxication, how to help a friend, bystander intervention, NIU policies and Illinois law related to underage drinking.

NIU’s proactive approach to providing education and training for students related to alcohol includes Greek participation in an extensive Bystander Intervention Education initiative consisting of educational workshops and a campus-wide social marketing campaign designed to empower students to report problem behavior and situations. 

On Friday, Dec. 7, the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct issued charges alleging that the fraternity was responsible for an off-campus hazing incident. Pi Kappa Alpha has received a temporary sanction removing them as a recognized student organization. The university is moving forward with organizational sanctions which may impact their permanent status as a recognized student organization.

The Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct also found 31 students in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. While student discipline matters are private and protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the students who violated NIU’s Student Code of Conduct face measures that range from educational sanctions and probation to suspension and expulsion from the university. 

According to NIU’s Student Code of Conduct, disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with conduct that potentially violates both criminal law and the Student Code of Conduct (if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) without regard to pending civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. Proceedings under this code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings at the discretion of the director of the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct, or designee. Determinations made or sanctions imposed under the Student Code of Conduct are not subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts and giving rise to violation of university rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant.

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Media Contact: Paul Palian
Phone: (815) 753-1681
Email: ppalian@niu.edu