Catching up on a few stories with new information this week:
Northern Illinois/Pi Kappa Alpha – The attorney for the family of David Bogenberger has added 16 sorority members to the civil lawsuit connected to Bogenberger’s death in November (Chicago Tribune). “The perception of the pledges was that the women were just as much in charge as the men and were doling out liquor.” I have not yet seen an article with the names or affiliations of the women involved. As this moves forward, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the sororities (local chapter and national organization) added to this case. Here is information about how David died from alcohol poisoning.
SUNY-Binghamton – (newschannel34.com) In their widespread attempt to address hazing and alcohol issues within the fraternity community, SUNY-Binghamton officials have released a list of actions taken in the past semester. Six chapters, and nine individuals, have have faced disciplinary action and sanctions.
Florida A&M Trial – The first criminal trial connected to the death of Robert Champion will begin on Monday, May 13th. As we have seen throughout this case, the Orlando Sentinel is likely the go-to source for updates on the trial.
- Update (May 13) – The student scheduled for trial this week plead guilty to hazing charges late last week. The manslaughter charges were dropped as part of the deal. He is expected to sentenced to probation and community-service, and provide testimony in the trial of the remaining 11 defendants.
- Update (May 14) – WFSU.com has a story on the potential impact on the remaining criminal charges from the trend toward plea bargains.
Trinity College – The President of Trinity (CT) College has announced that he is leaving office a year early (Bloomberg.com). While he says that the decision is not related to on-going dissent from alumni related to a proposal to overhaul the fraternity/sorority community by forcing chapters to go co-ed, that appears to be connected. The Bloomberg article provides a great deal of background on the situation at Trinity. The Hartford Courant also has a story.
Wabash/Delta Tau Delta – An appellate court in Indiana has remanded a civil case connected to the death of Johnny Smith in 2008 back to a lower court (jconline.com). A summary judgment had released the national fraternity of Delta Tau Delta from the case, and this decision returns them as a defendant. Smith died of alcohol poisoning, with a 0.40 BAC, while pledging the fraternity.
- Update (May 16) – Bloomberg.com has a story on this decision that implies that it “may force the organizations to take more responsibility for misconduct at chapter houses.” In reading the decision, I think it is premature to say that will happen. What the decision does do is make it very likely that a trial will happen to determine the relationship and responsibility of the national organization toward the local chapter. The result of that trial has the potential to significantly impact how national fraternities operate.