Family sues BGSU in Stone Foltz hazing death
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - The family of a Bowling Green State University student who died after an off-campus fraternity hazing event is suing the university.
Foltz died of alcohol poisoning after a Pi Kappa Alpha hazing event in which prosecutors said pledges were told to drink an entire bottle of liquor.
According to the lawsuit, the Foltz family is holding the university responsible on counts of violation of Ohio’s Anti-Hazing Statue, Survival Action, and Wrongful Death (Negligence).
“BGSU is responsible for Stone Foltz’s death. For years, BGSU turned a blind eye to hazing within the Greek organizations on its campus while encouraging students like Stone to join its fraternities and sororities. For years, BGSU knew about PIKE’s troubled history of hazing, both locally and nationally but did nothing about it. Indeed, as recently as 2019,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit continues to state that the university “became aware” of the fraternity’s Big/Little hazing ritual and took no action against the fraternity.
“Stone Foltz would not have died were it not for BGSU’s gross recklessness, lax policies, lax enforcement of those policies, promotion of PIKE’s Delta Beta Chapter, perfunctory “investigations,” and willful inaction in the face of repeated warnings.” the lawsuit reads.
Bowling Green State University responded stating the lawsuit is “meritless” as it undermines the university’s efforts to “eradicate hazing”.
“Stone Foltz’s death was a tragedy, and what his family has endured is unimaginable,” a statement from a BGSU spokesperson read. “However, this lawsuit is meritless and undermines our continued efforts to eradicate hazing. We are resolved in our legal position, and as a state-supported university, we will defend our community vigorously against this action. This will not deter our goal to continue to foster a community of care that serves our students and their families.”
Several people connected to the hazing incident were convicted of charges ranging from reckless homicide to misdemeanor hazing after taking plea deals. Two men took the case to trial and were acquitted of all felony charges and convicted of misdemeanor hazing and underage alcohol laws.
BGSU expelled the fraternity last year. Since Foltz’s death, state lawmakers passed Colin’s law that now makes hazing a felony offense in Ohio.
This is a developing story. Check back for additional details.
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