The family of Stone Foltz, a Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) pledge, says he remains in critical condition following an alcohol-related incident.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — An attorney speaking on behalf of the family of BGSU sophomore Stone Foltz says that the student is being kept alive while they work with doctors to donate his organs in the wake of an alleged alcohol-fueled fraternity hazing incident on Thursday that left him in critical condition.
A statement from the national Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity on Saturday erroneously stated that Foltz had died, his family said through attorney Sean Alto with Cooper Elliott law firm, speaking on behalf of the Foltz family. The national fraternity retracted and re-issued its statement later Saturday.
A social media post from Foltz’s mother, cleared for publication by Alto, reads:
“Please have respect, be considerate and passionate. Please don’t post comments on details of what you heard. Stone is still with us for the time as we go thru the process to donate his organs. Hug your children and tell them everyday how much you love them.”
The national fraternity on Saturday described Thursday’s activities as an “alleged incident of alcohol-related hazing at an off-campus event.”
BGSU student describes incident
A BGSU student who says his roommate is pledging Pi Kappa Alpha gave his account to WTOL 11 on Friday. He asked for his identity to be hidden because he knows people involved in the alleged misconduct. He also told us that the conversations he had with his pledge roommate made him fear for his roommate’s life.
“We have to drink a handle of any alcohol that our big gives us. We have to finish the whole thing in the time we’re there before we leave.”
That’s the last thing this student said he heard from his roommate until he came back later that night from a party that’s now the center of an investigation at BGSU.
A handle of alcohol is a 1.75 mL bottle of liquor, which is equal to about 40, 1.5-ounce shots.
“I’ve never seen my roommate more drunk in his entire life. He immediately went to the bathroom and was throwing up in the toilet for just 15 minutes to an hour and making himself vomit,” he said.
The student who spoke with WTOL 11 is not part of Greek life at the university. He says he talked to us because he’s afraid students will continue to get sick or die if no changes are made.
“It’s crazy to me that they can allow this deathly and neglectful drinking to go on. I think it’s incredible to me that they try to hide themselves behind this organization,” the student said.
Foltz’ condition after the fraternity event
Alto described information on what happened after the incident, saying after the Pike fraternity event Thursday, Foltz was dropped off around 11-11:30 p.m. at his apartment.
“Shortly thereafter, Stone’s roommates or friends found him, who then called 911,” said Alto. “He was in need of immediate transport to the hospital. And he was (flown) to the hospital where he’s at now.”
National Phi Kappa Alpha reaction
“The International Fraternity is horrified and outraged by this incident. The Fraternity has a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal activity, substance abuse, bullying, and hazing of any kind. Let us reiterate in the strongest terms: We refuse to defend or condone any behavior that creates dangerous environments or situations for our members or the larger campus community at any of our 200+ chapters in the United States and abroad,” the Pi Kappa Alpha statement said.
The statement goes on to say the national is cooperating in investigations with the university.
“We have immediately placed this chapter on administrative suspension and advised its leaders to cooperate fully with University administration and local law enforcement. As more details are confirmed, we will also pursue permanent suspension of Delta Beta Chapter as well as expulsion of all chapter members from the International Fraternity.
“The International Fraternity will cooperate fully with authorities as this incident is investigated and will consider every possible course of action to hold the chapter and individual members accountable to the fullest extent in accordance with the International Fraternity Constitution and Codes.
“Any member of Pi Kappa Alpha should immediately and confidentially report any hazing or potential hazing or other harmful activity to their chapter consultant, director of service, or the International Fraternity here.”
PI KAPPA ALPHA FRATERNITY RESIDENTIAL LETTERS REMOVED
The letters on the Pi Kappa Alpha on-campus fraternity house were removed Sunday morning. BGSU Deputy Chief of Staff and Spokesperson Alexis Solis released a statement on behalf of the university shortly after:
“Bowling Green State University has placed Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity on interim suspension for alleged hazing activity. Local law enforcement and University investigations continue. Given that Pi Kappa Alpha is not currently recognized as a registered student organization, the fraternity’s Greek letters were removed from its on-campus residence this morning.”
BGSU discusses Greek life future
A statement from BGSU on Saturday reiterated that Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is now on interim suspension for the alleged hazing activity. It is being investigated by local law enforcement.
The university said it began to meet on Saturday morning with student leaders to discuss the long and short-term future of fraternity and sorority life at BGSU.
“Above all, we remain committed to supporting the hospitalized student’s family and friends. They are living every loved one’s worst nightmare, and we owe them the utmost respect and privacy at this time,” the BGSU statement said.
On Saturday night, BGSU President Rodney Rogers, released a communication aimed at the campus community which said the university will be conducting its own “code of conduct” investigation, in addition to working with law enforcement.
Starting at midnight on Saturday, the university is “interimly suspending all new member intake processes and on- and off-campus social events.”
Anyone affiliated with the BGSU community can file a hazing complaint by calling The Office of the Dean of Students at 419-372-2843, BGSU Police at 419-372-2346, the Hazing Hotline at 419-372-HAZE(4293) or by submitting an electronic report.
OHIO PROPOSED ANTI-HAZING LEGISLATION STALLED IN 2020
Attorney Alto, who has experience dealing with hazing lawsuits brought by families, weighed in on possible legislation that would increase the penalties for people convicted of hazing.
“It happens year after year after year. It’s been going on for a long time, and these young men in these fraternities who are given the reins to power, they just don’t seem to get what they’re doing is wrong,” Alto said. “It causes serious, catastrophic, life-altering harm and death. And they just don’t seem to get it. And, you know, one of the things that I’m hopeful for is that this year, the Ohio legislators (could) pass Collin’s Law, which was introduced last year but didn’t make it … I’m hopeful that, and I believe by the end of this month, it will be reintroduced. And I’m hopeful that the legislature will take it up and pass the law, which would make it one of the most comprehensive anti-hazing statutes in the country.”
RELATED: BGSU hazing incident could spur action in Ohio legislature, according to state reps
“Collin’s Law,” also known as House Bill 310, was proposed to focus on stricter penalties for anyone who engages in hazing. The anti-hazing bill was named for Collin Wiant, an Ohio University freshman, who died after medics found him unresponsive at the Sigma Pi Fraternity where he was pledging.
Wiant’s cause of death was asphyxiation due to nitrous oxide ingestion.
In the family’s lawsuit, it claims he was “pelted with eggs, hit with a belt and repeatedly punched” by members of the fraternity. The lawsuit also claims the fraternity provided or forced Wiant to take drugs and drink alcohol.
RELATED: Final fraternity members enter guilty pleas in connection to Collin Wiant’s death
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Under House Bill 310, a person convicted of hazing would no longer face a misdemeanor charge. Instead, they would face a felony charge.
State Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, issued the following statement, regarding the BGSU incident and “Collin’s Law”:
“I’m very disheartened to learn about the alleged hazing incident at an off-campus event near Bowling Green State University
Last year, I co-sponsored and the House passed legislation to enact the Anti-Bullying and Hazing Act. My commitment is that we continue the work from the last General Assembly to get a bill sent to the Governor’s desk to address these very serious incidents which impact our talented youth and young adults. My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and BGSU community.”
Ohio Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, released a statement following the incident at BGSU:
“Time and time again we have seen many students fall victim to hazing, with some even losing their lives because of it.
There was legislation introduced last year that would have made some much-needed reforms to the hazing laws in Ohio. Unfortunately, that legislation ran out of time, but I am hopeful we can come up with a bipartisan solution to prevent the senseless tragedies that can come from hazing.”