22 Illinois Frat Members Charged in Pledge's Death
David Bogenberger died after booze-filled pledge event
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2012 10:21 AM CST
A Pi Kappa Alpha house (not the one at NIU).   (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Saul Young)

(Newser) – Northern Illinois University freshman David Bogenberger, 19, was found dead Nov. 2 at a frat house, his blood-alcohol level more than four times the .08 limit for driving—and now 22 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity have been charged with criminal hazing. Authorities say Bogenberger had been given vodka and other liquor while taking part in a pledge event the night prior to his death, and that he and the other pledges ultimately drank "a large quantity of alcohol" over a period of just two hours. Other pledges also passed out or became sick, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Five former leaders of the now-suspended fraternity face felony charges for providing alcohol to underage students and pressuring them to drink; they face as many as three years in prison. The other 17 students were charged with misdemeanors and face a maximum of one year in jail. In addition, 31 members of the fraternity face punishment from the school, including possible expulsion. "We are losing these talented, beautiful, and hopeful young people because of illegal drinking unrestrained by maturity and exacerbated by social pressure," said Bogenberger’s family in a statement.

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Dec 19, 2012 2:29 AM CST
When I was in college a fraternity invited me to pledge with them, but I turned them down, saying "Thank you, but I value my privacy and personal freedom" (neither of which you get in a fraternity). My recollection, though, was that many students whose parents couldn't afford to put them up in a dorm were forced to go that other route because it was the cheaper alternative.
Dec 18, 2012 11:16 PM CST
I hate to break it to everyone but this behavior is not exclusive to fraternities, nor do all fraternities engage in behavior like this. The seediest and most irresponsible behavior I ever witnessed in college took place outside of frat houses, ironically by groups of males who lived together and who mostly resented fraternities. Pressure to binge drink and do drugs in order to "fit in" exists everywhere in the college scene, but you usually only see reports in the news when these tragedies happens in a frat house. It provides an easy target to blame without addressing the underlying cultural problem. As much as they liked to party, at least the frats at my school did SOME good for the university and/or the community. That's more than I can say for random groups of non-frat guys living together in houses and engaging in the same irresponsible behavior. But I guess those guys aren't seeking acceptance because they don't have letters hanging above their front door...
Dec 18, 2012 9:20 PM CST
I don't know why everyone calls this story depressing...aren't fraternity pranks supposed to be funny?