The parents of Stone Foltz, a student at Bowling Green State University, have filed a lawsuit against the university after a hazing incident led to their son’s death from alcohol poisoning in the ‘Ohio last year.
In the lawsuit, Cory and Shari Foltz alleged that their 20-year-old son was the victim of heinous acts of hazing by the international Pi Kappa Alpha Brotherhood, known as PIKE, during his second year of college, while he was a pledge.
Bowling Green State permanently expelled the fraternity last year, saying it will never be recognized by the university again, due to the hazing, which the university said in a “absolutely intolerable” statement. A university investigation found “the fraternity was reckless in disregard of the health and safety” of the community, the statement said.
The lawsuit alleges that Foltz and other pledges were taken to the basement of a Bowling Green home and forced to drink an entire liter of bourbon, in a hazing ritual.
“We promised Stone that we would end hazing on college campuses for good. By filing a lawsuit against Bowling Green State University, we are doing what is necessary to hold those in power accountable for their lamentable inaction to keep students safe and their reckless disregard for illegal activity,” Shari and Cory Foltz said in a statement to ABC News.
Foltz was allegedly told to finish the bottle and that fraternity members would take care of him, according to the lawsuit.
Due to the forced heavy drinking, Foltz spent nearly three days in a coma and died on March 7, 2021, from alcohol poisoning, according to the lawsuit.
Foltz’s parents allege the university is responsible for their son’s death after turning a blind eye to hazing within PIKE for years, according to the lawsuit.
“Despite being acutely aware of the hazing activities that have been taking place in Bowling Green for decades, the University enthusiastically endorses Greek life to parents and students. To be clear, any perceived benefit to students by joining a Greek organization is completely and utterly outweighed by the risk of injury or death from antiquated and deadly hazing rituals,” Foltz’s parents allege in the lawsuit.
The Foltzes claimed that PIKE had a history of hazing, which their son was unaware of when he became a pawn, and that the university knew about this ritual as recently as 2019 but did not. nothing done about it, according to the lawsuit.
“Students across the country will continue to suffer humiliation, injury and death from hazing without immediate change. We demand increased education for students, transparency for parents, zero tolerance policies for Greek organizations and immediate action from university leaders who have complete control over what happens on their campuses,” the Foltzes said.
The lawsuit claims that Stone Foltz would not have died had it not been for the university’s recklessness, lax policies, lax enforcement of those policies, promotion of the PIKE chapter, cursory investigations, and willful inaction in the face of repeated warnings .
The university has rebuffed those allegations, calling the lawsuit unfounded.
“Stone Foltz’s death was a tragedy, and what his family endured is unimaginable. However, this lawsuit is without merit and undermines our ongoing efforts to eradicate hazing. We are resolute in our legal position, and as a State-supported university, we will vigorously defend our community against this action,” Alex Solis, deputy chief of staff and spokesperson for Bowling Green, said in a statement.