NIU task force recommends how to save Greek life


Nyla Owens

Afternoon snow settles onto the Greek Row houses of Greenbrier Drive just off campus. NIU’s Presidential Task Force on the Revitalization of Greek Life has presented their findings and recommendations in a report to the University after a year of research. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

By Caleb Johnson, Lifestyle Writer

DeKALB – A task force created by NIU President Lisa Freeman, dedicated to revitalizing and improving Greek life, gave its findings to the university after research and data gathering from various subcommittees during the 2021-2022 academic year.

According to the task force’s report, its goal was to recommend solutions for NIU to solve the challenges facing Greek life.

The bulk of issues came from a number of conflicts between NIU and Greek life, including sexual misconduct, alcoholism, drug abuse and racism – and the death of David Bogenberger from the now disbanded NIU chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha, also known as PIKE.

The task force recommends a shift in the university’s mindset regarding Greek life from strict conduct enforcement to a focus on building leadership skills and emphasizing community service. The task force also recommended building connections with alumni to act as advisers to provide guidance.

Another recommendation of the task force was for the university to aid in Greek life recruitment. In the task force’s findings, it was reported that the number of registered members for all Greek life organizations in the 2020-2021 academic year totaled 691 members.

After the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many things changed for Greek life, as NIU’s enrollment decreased, and some organizations no longer had enough members to function and were closed down completely.

With these recommendations and considerations, the task force believes that the university should focus on giving fraternities and sororities more training in areas such as recruitment, leadership and community service.

The committee also believes the university should assist in the creation of long-term and sustainable housing plans. The recommendation is to invest in renovations for the current Greek life houses and with the Annie Glidden North property owners to build a meeting and gathering place in the area.

The last major takeaway was the establishment of a written agreement between the university and fraternities and sororities that explicitly states the respective expectations and guidelines for both parties – as well as working with national Greek chapters to help get chapters reinstated.

The recommendation is to create a positive set of policies and procedures that focus on student success, both academically and physically.

In an interview with the Northern Star, Freeman discussed the importance of revitalizing Greek life.

“For many students, it connects them, to the university, to their fellow students, to aspirations around academic success and philanthropy and being part of a community – and for that reason, we support Greek life,” Freeman said.

The task force included alumni, representatives from the Greek councils, NIU staff and a representative of DeKalb County.