Bowling Green State University was ordered to pay $2.9 million to the family of a former student killed in a fraternity hazing incident two years ago, both parties announced Monday.
As part of the settlement, the Ohio college and Stone Foltz’s family promised to each work to eliminate hazing practices on college campuses. Stone’s parents said they will put their winnings toward an anti-having foundation they created in the wake of their 20-year-old son’s tragic death.
“From Day 1, we’ve always wanted the same thing as Bowling Green: to eradicate hazing across the country,” Stone’s father Cory Foltz said at a news conference Monday.
“I strongly believe that today, moving forward, we can work with Bowling Green, and Bowling Green will be one of the first universities to take the big step towards eliminating hazing across this country.”
“We can continue our fight saving lives,” Stone’s mother, Shari, said.
The settlement ends a nearly two-year-long lawsuit that was filed after Stone died in March 2021.
The university sophomore had been ordered to polish off an entire liter of whisky at an off-campus initiation party organized by the school’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, the society Stone had been rushing.
Stone was dropped off at his apartment by frat members later that night and was discovered unconscious by his roommates, who called 911. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was listed in “dire” condition, and died three days later from what a coroner ruled as “fatal ethanol intoxication during hazing incident.”
Eight former fraternity members either pleaded guilty or were found guilty on various charges, including reckless homicide, hazing and giving alcohol to a minor. Two were later acquitted of more serious charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.
In their lawsuit, the Foltz accused Bowling Green of failing to stop hazing in fraternities and sororities despite being aware of it.
In the aftermath of Stone’s death, however, the Ohio school took numerous steps to reconcile the tragedy, including expelling the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity as a campus-recognized society and hiring a hazing prevention coordinator.
“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 college said in a statement.
Though happy that the parties reached a settlement, Shari said the money, or anything, will bring her family closure.
“Obviously the money has nothing that means anything to us because it’s not going to bring Stone back,” she said. “But what it does allow is us to move forward and help us through the foundation … to continue the education piece of it, teach the students, the community, the parents about hazing.”
The Foltz will use the settlement cash to fund the iamstonefoltz Foundation, which works toward educating against the dangers of fraternity and sorority initiation practices.
With Post Wires