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NIU is looking at possible policy violations after student's death

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University officials are investigating whether any school policies were broken in the wake of a student’s death in one of its fraternity houses.

NIU spokesman Brad Hoey said all students and student organizations are subject to university policies.

“The university is still actively engaged in gathering information,” Hoey said. “We don’t have any additional information at this time.”

On Friday, 19-year-old NIU student David Bogenberger was found dead in the Pi Kappa Alpha house. A toxicology report is pending after the autopsy found nothing unusual. Authorities have said they do not suspect foul play or suicide.

The university is holding a candlelight vigil for Bogenberger at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of the university’s Holmes Student Center.

Hoey said Bogenberger was pledging the fraternity at the time of his death.

The university’s student code of conduct applies to students and organizations even if they’re off campus and engaged in non-university-related or unsanctioned activities.

“Any time you have an incident like this, the university is looking at all angles and policies,” Hoey said. He added that all students and organizations must abide by state and federal laws.

The university’s student code of conduct outlines the various punishments and procedures involving student discipline. A student can be expelled, but has the right to appeal. The university can revoke a fraternity’s charter, but future classes can re-establish the organization.

Pi Kappa Alpha’s national organization said in a statement that its thoughts and prayers are with Bogenberger’s family and the local Eta Nu chapter.

“The chapter has ceased operations and is cooperating with all ongoing police and university investigations,” the statement read.

Justin True, the national organization’s communications director, said he was unable to comment on the possibility of the NIU chapter being punished as a result of Bogenberger’s death. He also did not comment on whether national fraternity policies were broken.

NIU has organized its social fraternities and sororities into four governing councils. Pi Kappa Alpha, commonly referred to as “Pikes,” is part of the Interfraternity Council.

The university has policies and procedures for fraternities such as the Pikes, which host social events where alcohol is consumed. In all social events with alcohol at the fraternity/sorority house, the organization must register the event with NIU’s Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development, which oversees Greek activity.

The social events policy also requires that a guest list be kept and adhered to during the social event. After the list has been submitted to NIU, guests cannot be added at the door.

There also must be a number of sober monitors, depending on how many people attend the event. They are responsible for making sure people under 21 are denied access to alcohol. They are trained by SILD, NIU police and the university’s health enhancement office on how to monitor parties and manage risks associated with alcohol.

The policy also requires a majority of chapter members to attend these training sessions if alcohol is present.

The policy also recognizes that parties can just happen, and it charges the organizations with ensuring these events “do not evolve into social events, i.e. inviting people to attend, having the number exceed that of registered social events, etc.”

Right now, it is unknown whether the fraternity held a social event Thursday or Bogenberger had attended.

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Northern Illinois University is holding a candlelight vigil for David Bogenberger on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of the university’s Holmes Student Center.

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