Bowling Green State Settles Hazing Death Lawsuit for Nearly $3 Million
The settlement is the largest payout by a public university in a hazing case in the state of Ohio.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green State University has agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a student who died from alcohol poisoning while pledging a fraternity almost two years ago. The settlement is the largest payout by a public university in a hazing case in the state of Ohio.
Stone Foltz, 20, died in March 2021 after attending a Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity event where pledges allegedly had to drink an entire handle of alcohol before they were allowed to leave the party.
Foltz was later dropped off at his apartment where his roommates found him and called 911. He was flown to a hospital where he was put on life support. and died three days later. An autopsy determined Foltz died of fatal ethanol intoxication. His blood alcohol content was .394.
In April 2022, eight men ranging in age from 19 to 23 were indicted for their roles in the hazing incident. In May 2022, two of them were sentenced to 42 days in jail, followed by 28 days on house arrest and two years of probation.
In the lawsuit, Stone’s parents, Shari and Cory Foltz, accused the school of failing to stop hazing in fraternities and sororities despite being aware of it. Following his death, Foltz’s family started a foundation focused on hazing education. Foltz’s parents said they plan to use the settlement money to support the non-profit organization, reports CNN.
“Obviously, the money has nothing that means anything to us because it’s not going to bring Stone back,” said Shari Foltz. “What it does allow is us to move forward and help us through the foundation. We can continue our fight in saving lives.”
As part of the settlement, the family and the university agreed they would work together to address and eliminate hazing on college campuses. The family’s lawyer, Rex Elliott, praised the university for its commitment to stop hazing. In April 2021, the school permanently expelled the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity chapter from campus. The university also developed a plan to address hazing, including hiring a prevention coordinator and making it easier for students to report hazing, according to Insurance Journal.
“Until universities become more involved in stopping this harmful behavior, it will not stop,” Elliott said.
Elliott also said he wants to get rid of the pledge system, pointing out that hazing overshadows the social, leadership, and philanthropic work being done by Greek organizations.
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