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Hazing suit at Bowling Green ends with nearly $3M settlement

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The family of a student who died from alcohol poisoning while pledging a fraternity will receive nearly $3 million from Bowling Green State University to settle its lawsuit, according to an agreement announced Monday.

As part of the settlement, the family of Stone Foltz and the university both said they will work to address and eliminate hazing on college campuses.

Foltz died of alcohol poisoning in March 2021 after a fraternity initiation event where there was a tradition of new members finishing or attempting to finish a bottle of alcohol, according to a university investigation.

The 20-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, was found unconscious after members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity dropped him off at his apartment. He died three days after he was put on life support.

Both sides said in a joint statement issued Monday that they will be forever impacted by his death.

“This resolution keeps the Foltz family and BGSU community from reliving the tragedy for years to come in the courtroom and allows us to focus on furthering our shared mission of eradicating hazing in Ohio and across the nation. Leading these efforts in our communities is the real work that honors Stone,” the statement said.

The Foltz family has started a foundation focused on hazing education. In their lawsuit, his parents accused the school of failing to stop hazing in fraternities and sororities despite being aware of it.

After the hazing death, Bowling Green expelled Pi Kappa Alpha and said it would never again be recognized on campus. The university also developed a plan to address anti-hazing efforts, including hiring a prevention coordinator and making it easier for students to tell the school about hazing.

Stone Foltz’s death also spurred changes beyond Bowling Green, including a new state law that created tougher criminal penalties for hazing — a proposal first made after an Ohio University student died in 2018 after ingesting nitrous oxide at a fraternity house.

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