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Memorial held on campus as NIU suspends fraternity where student died

DeKALB – Members of Northern Illinois University came together Wednesday to remember a fallen Huskie the same day the school temporarily shut down the fraternity where he died.

NIU students and officials spoke to the few hundred people who came to honor David Bogenberger, a 19-year-old freshman who was pledging Pi Kappa Alpha.

The 2012 Palatine High School graduate was found unresponsive in a bunk bed Friday morning
at the fraternity house at 1020
W. Hillcrest Drive in DeKalb about 10:15 a.m., authorities said.

He was pronounced dead there about 30 minutes later.

An autopsy Saturday did not reveal his cause of death, so DeKalb County Coroner Dennis J. Miller is awaiting results from toxicology tests, which should be completed in about a week.

DeKalb Police Lt. Jason Leverton said he hopes to finish the police investigation, which is separate from the university’s proceedings, within a week.

“For our purposes, we’re still in the middle of interviewing people who were there and trying to determine what happened,” Leverton said.

The university held a memorial service and candlelight vigil for Bogenberger early Wednesday evening. NIU President John Peters also publicly expressed his condolences to Bogenberger’s family and friends.

“I wish I could say something to relieve their sorrow ... but I know that is beyond the power of mere words,” Peters said.

Bogenberger’s friends and pastor from Palatine each shared their own feelings and memories of him. After speaking, the hundreds in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium viewed a slideshow of pictures of Bogenberger.

“When one of us is down, we all suffer,” said Austin Quick, an NIU student government leader who lead the memorial ceremony.

NIU officials are continuing their investigation into the circumstances of Bogenberger’s death. The university’s student code allows them to punish students and organizations for infractions that occur off-campus.

Kelly Wesener Michael, acting vice president of student affairs, said she could not comment on what rules were allegedly broken, or if any hazing took place.

“We have not identified which policies have been violated nor which sanctions might be applied,” Michael said, adding that both the university and DeKalb police are still investigating. No particular student has been sanctioned, but Michael said it is still “too early to tell.”

The sanctions against the fraternity, commonly known as Pikes, are temporary and can be appealed, said NIU spokesman Brad Hoey. But the fraternity has lost its status as a student organization, and as such, its members are banned from conducting fraternity business on or off campus.

Neither Hoey nor Michael could say how long the sanctions will be in place, nor offer a time line for the hearing and appeals process.

In conjunction with the university, Pi Kappa Alpha International has suspended the local chapter’s charter.

Members of Pi Kappa Alpha joined the many hundreds attended both the memorial in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium, and the candlelight vigil held outside in the adjacent Martin Luther King Commons.

After the event, a number of them went back to the fraternity house, where a makeshift memorial to Bogenberger had been erected outside. The members declined to comment.

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