Fraternity to appeal expulsion

By Sabryna Cornish

Members of an NIU fraternity are appealing a decision to expel them for allegedly hazing candidates for membership and forging university documents.

The NIU Judicial Board heard the cases during the first week of December.

NIU Judicial Director Larry Bolles said every member of NIU’s Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. was charged with hazing and forging university documents. The candidates for membership, who also are accused of being involved in hazing activities, were given a deferred suspension. Bolles said the suspension will be withheld provided the membership candidates do not get into subsequent trouble.

He said the times of expulsion range from a two-year minimum to a four-year maximum.

The fraternity members, however, are appealing the decision and the case will be heard at the end of the month, Bolles said.

The members can register for classes and stay at the university until “all appeals are exhausted,” he said.

The Judicial Board, which heard the first case, consists of two faculty members and three students. The Appeals Board consists of two students and one faculty member and will hear the fraternity members’ appeals case.

If the appeals case is denied, the members can appeal that decision to Barbara Henley, NIU vice president for Student Affairs. Henley only hears appeals dealing with suspensions and expulsions and her decision is final, Bolles said.

Bolles said there are more members of the fraternity in the community who are active in the organization than just registered NIU students.

Bolles previously said the alleged hazing incidents involved broken bones and hospital visits.

He also said the candidates for membership were uncooperative with his investigation and he charged some of them with being an accessory to the violation. “The message I am trying to send is if you are pledging underground and you are beating people, you risk your college career,” Bolles said.

The fraternity was suspended by the national office in November until it could complete its own investigation.

The allegation of forgery involves NIU’s Office of Registration and Records. Director of Registration and Records Richard Durfee’s signature allegedly was forged on documents that raised fraternity members’ grade point averages to an acceptable standard set by its national office. A representative from the national office was unavailable for comment. However, Rick Clark, assistant director of University Programming and Activities, previously said the NIU chapter of the fraternity was suspended by its national leadership “for misrepresentation.”

Officers of the fraternity were unavailable for comment.