National office suspends fraternity

By Eric Krol

An NIU fraternity under investigation by the administration on charges of hazing has been suspended by its national office.

Phi Beta Sigma was suspended by its national leadership “for misrepresentation,” said Rick Clark, assistant director of University Programming and Activities (UP&A).

Clark declined to say what “misrepresentation” entailed. He said the national office, which is based in Washington, D.C., will be issuing a press release soon. Members of the national office could not be reached for comment. The fraternity maintains its innocence and says the investigation is being unfairly dragged out.

NIU does not recognize fraternal organizations when they are on suspension, Clark said. This limits the activities an organization can plan.

Three groups have been investigating the charges—the NIU Judicial Office, UP&A and the national headquarters. NIU officials have said the investigations were prompted by several calls from concerned parents and friends who said candidates for membership were being severely

Pysically abused, including broken bones and cracked vertebrae.

Clark said UP&A’s investigation consisted of speaking to members and prospective members. He said he also had an opportunity to “view some documents from concerned students.”

As for the results of his investigation, Clark declined to go into detail, but said, “There were some things being done that shouldn’t be done.

“Our office did not place sanctions because the nationals decided to remove the chapter,” Clark said.

Clark said there are only three active members of the fraternity at NIU, but there are several more attending classes at Kishwaukee Community College. Another source put the number of members at Kishwaukee at about 15.

There are anywhere from six to eight candidates for membership, Clark said.

Three fraternity officers have alternately given statements to The Northern Star and then later asked that their comments not be printed. However, in a letter of complaint to the university Ombudsman’s Office, the fraternity states that its national office’s policy is to automatically suspend a chapter which has been accused of hazing until an investigation has been done.

The fraternity has said NIU Judicial Director Larry Bolles has been harassing and slandering it during his investigation.

The letter states this has put a hold on any fundraising activities the fraternity can hold. “We feel that this action contributes to the demise of our organization and that certain university officials conspired against our organization,” the letter states.

There have been hazing charges filed against at least three members of the fraternity. Bolles has said he will file accessory charges against candidates for membership if they refuse to cooperate. All those charged will face the NIU Judicial Board. Bolles is recommending sanctions of suspension and expulsion for those found guilty