‘Senseless hazing ritual’: Ohio university charges fraternity in death of sophomore

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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WCMH) — Bowling Green State University has charged the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity with six violations of the Code of Student Conduct in relation to the death of sophomore Stone Foltz.

University President Rodney K. Rogers made the announcement Friday in an email to the BGSU community.

Rogers wrote that BGSU administrators have met with national leaders of Pi Kappa Alpha and worked with David DeVillers, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, “to pursue a thorough and fair investigation to seek the truth and facts regarding the alleged hazing activity on March 4.”

Foltz’s parents issued the following statement regarding the university charges:

Stone Foltz died as a result of a senseless hazing ritual. While he wasn’t the first to suffer dire consequences at the hands of a fraternity, we are determined to make him the last. We are encouraged to see Bowling Green State University move swiftly to address Pi Kappa Alpha’s conduct. Given the facts, charging the fraternity with six Code of Student Conduct violations, including Harm to Others, multiple Hazing violations, and Organization Alcohol, is an easy decision that should lead to the fraternity’s expulsion. We also expect the individuals who participated in the hazing ritual to be held accountable. However, our ultimate goal is to get all university presidents to institute a zero-tolerance policy for any hazing activities. True zero tolerance means one hazing incident results in immediate fraternal expulsion. Proposed state and federal legislation are steps in the right direction but university presidents must make serious and significant changes to eliminate hazing from the culture.

Statement from Rex Elliott and Sean Alto, Cooper Elliott

The six charges are as follow:

  • 6.B.1.a. – Offenses Against Persons – Harm to Others
  • 6.B.2.a. – Offenses Against Persons – Hazing
  • 6.B.2.d. – Offenses Against Persons – Hazing
  • 6.B.2.f. – Offenses Against Persons – Hazing
  • 6.B.2.h. – Offenses Against Persons – Hazing
  • 6.D.2.d. – Offenses Disrupting Order or Disregarding Health and Safety – Organization Alcohol

In response to the “very serious allegations,” the fraternity chapter will need to complete a Case Resolution Record and return it to the school, to be followed by a meeting with Dean of Students Chris Bullins on Tuesday, April 6.

A letter from Associate Dean of Students Jeremy Zilmer to the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter laid out the next steps.

“If you accept responsibility on behalf of the organization, we will discuss sanctions,” Zilmer wrote. “If you request a formal hearing before the University Conduct Committee on behalf of the organization, Dean Bullins will discuss the hearing preparation checklist and provide a hearing overview for you.

“If you do not attend the meeting on April 6, a decision will be made without the benefit of your input as to the final resolution of these charges for violating the Code of Student Conduct.
If you request a formal hearing before the University Conduct Committee, a hearing date and time has been reserved for April 13, 2021, at 8:30 a.m.”

On March 4, Foltz, who was pledging the fraternity, told his mother he had to do something called a “Big-Little.” It was a drinking ritual, according Shari Foltz, and he wasn’t looking forward to it.

“I said, ‘Well, please be smart about it,’ and he said, ‘I will,’” Shari Foltz said.

According to the family’s attorney Rex Elliott, at 9 p.m. that evening, Stone was blindfolded and led into a basement. He was told to drink a bottle of alcohol before he was able to leave. Around 10:30 p.m., members of the fraternity dropped him off at his apartment alone.

Stone’s roommate found him around 11 p.m. and called 911. Stone was rushed to the hospital and would eventually be put on life support. His family kept him alive for four days so that he could donate his organs.

BGSU President Rogers wrote in his email that the university continues to work with local law enforcement on the case. He also wrote that he has appointed a presidential working group to head up anti-hazing efforts on campus.

“We must be a leader in our anti-hazing efforts,” Rogers wrote.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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