19.12.12

THE DOWNSIDE OF BEER-'N-CIRCUS.

Football.  Fraternities.  Fun.  Until it isn't.
The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, 1020 W. Hillcrest Drive, along with 31 student members, also are facing academic charges that could affect the fraternity’s permanent status as a registered student organization, Northern Illinois University officials said Monday in a news release. The students face academic sanctions, with penalties possibly rising to expulsion from the university.

Five of the fraternity members face felony hazing charges, which carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison. The other 17 members face misdemeanor charges.

The criminal and academic charges stem from an unsanctioned “parents night” party that the fraternity, known as the Pikes, allegedly hosted Nov. 1 for freshman Bogenberger and 18 other fraternity pledges. The event was not registered with the national fraternity organization or with NIU officials.
[Freshman David] Bogenberger’s family called on university and fraternity leaders to stop alcohol-based hazing and initiation rituals.

“No other family should have to endure what we are going through,” the family said in a prepared statement. “Yet, we are losing these talented, beautiful and hopeful young people because of illegal drinking unrestrained by maturity and exacerbated by social pressure.”

On Nov. 1, Bogenberger and the other pledges drank vodka and other liquor from plastic cups for about two hours while playing a game in which they were asked a series of questions after being assigned “moms” and “dads,” according to a joint news release from DeKalb police and the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Our coverage at the time the story broke noted Mr Bogenberger's death as part of a perfect storm of troubles in the administration.  The fraternity officers, and I use the term loosely, charged with misdemeanors or felonies have for the most part turned themselves in to police.

The editorial board of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle refers to the death, and the party, as "senseless."  Yet the opening sentences of their editorial say more about the state of collegiate culture than perhaps the editors guessed.
David Bogenberger was just doing what many young people think they’re supposed to do at college.

Bogenberger, a 19-year-old NIU freshman from Palatine, was pledging a fraternity. On the evening of Nov. 1, he showed up at the Pi Kappa Alpha house at 1020 W. Hillcrest Drive for “parents night,” a party that police say was actually an alcohol-soaked hazing ritual.

Police say many of the pledges at the “Pikes” house that night reported getting sick or passing out from all the booze they drank at the urging of fraternity members; Bogenberger drank so much that his brain couldn’t tell his heart to keep beating. He was found dead at the fraternity house the following morning. Toxicology test results released Monday showed he had a 0.351 percent blood-alcohol content when he died.
It's incumbent on the faculty and that part of the administration that supports the academic function of the university to dispel the notion, and disabuse students of the preconception, that it's all about the drinking games and the parties.  Here's the editorial board's recommendation.
This incident has ended one man’s life and affected many others. It is a tragedy that NIU’s Greek organizations and the university itself must examine and work to prevent a recurrence.
That's easily enough done, although less easily done in a way that aligns with headquarters's desire to be mentioned in the football power rankings the way Boise State is.

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