Parents of NIU freshman who died of alcohol, hazing speak out 2 - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Parents of NIU freshman who died of alcohol, hazing speak out Pt. 2

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Parents of NIU freshman David Bogenberger, who died of alcohol poisoning in 2012, finally spoke publicly for the first time about their son's hazing death. Now, they express frustration about university policies designed to protect students from drinking and hazing, which they said were never enforced.

"It's a business. And their business, much like the athletic side of it, is to build student enrollment," said Gary, David's father.

Gary and Ruth Bogenberger believe the business of college, attracting students, blinded Northern Illinois University officials to abuses on fraternity row. Their son, who was 19, died after police said he was forced to drink 40 ounces of alcohol in 90 minutes during a pledge event at the Pi Kappa Alpha house in November of 2012.

"It just leaves you with questions about human nature. How could you do this to someone else? Why would you do this?," said Ruth.

According to NIU policy, fraternities and sororities are required to apply for permission to hold parties and events at their houses, and prove that those parties will be properly monitored and supervised.

However, the Bogenbergers and their attorney said not one single fraternity, including the Pikes, applied for any kind of social event during pledge week, which was heavily promoted on campus.

"Wouldn't a red flag go up if that was your job? Wouldn't you say hmmm, something's a little suspicious here?," added Ruth.

The Bogenbergers, who now live in Florida, believe university officials were reluctant to crack down on the pledge parties, because it could hurt the school's bottom line.

"In order to encourage enrollment and provide a fleshed-out full university experience, they feel that they need the fraternity and the Greek system," said Gary.

NIU refused to respond to those allegations because the Bogenberger's have filed a civil suit against the university.

However, they point out 18 students involved in the death were suspended, and another 14 received other discipline.

The Pikes house closed after the national fraternity pulled its charter, but the Bogenberger's attorney believes they're also part of the problem.

"What we're learning is it's a business. And the fraternities are an industry. They depend on enrolling more pledges. They depend on fees and the dues to survive," said Peter Coladarci, the Bogenberger's attorney.

After David's death, Ruth was given a copy of a speech he made in a communications class just days before he died. In it, he talks about the life lessons he learned from his mom.

"My mom isn't just the reason I got the job, the reason I got the grades or the reason I got into this school. She's the reason I am who I am today. And there isn't a person in the world I owe more thanks to than my mom," said David.

"I hate to say it, but it could be anybody's child. But you just never know. There was nothing about David that would have earmarked him for this to happen to him. He was just like anybody else's kid," added Ruth.

Last week, the Evanston-based fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsion made news when it announced it was ending the practice of pledging, following a number of alcohol incidents and lawsuits.

The Bogenbergers said they hope that other fraternities will follow that lead.

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