Stone Foltz, a 20-year-old sophomore at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio, died Sunday evening after attending an off-campus Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity party. The New York Times reported that the event included “hazing activity involving alcohol consumption.”
Atty Sean Alto, the lawyer representing the student’s family, confirmed his passing to Toledo television station WTOL. Alto added that despite the Foltz family’s grief, they agreed to donate Stone’s organs “so that others may have a second chance at life.”
Atty Alto, the university, and the Bowling Green Police department have requested the community to refrain from speculation while the investigation is being carried out.
A statement from the national Phi Kappa Alpha to WTOL revealed that the fraternity is also cooperating with the university investigation and that they follow 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 statement read.
Suspected Alcohol Hazing
Foltz’s roommate told WTOL that Foltz mentioned how initiates needed to drink and finish a “handle” of any alcohol given to them by their “big” before they left the party. This is terminology for the big brothers or sisters assigned to initiates in Greek life who are meant to guide the new members during their initiation. A handle of alcohol is a 1,750 ml bottle, equal to about 59.18 ounces.
These were Foltz’s last words to his roommate before he returned from the party. His roommate, who is not a part of Greek life at BGSU, reported that Foltz appeared to be dangerously inebriated when he got home.
“I’ve never seen my roommate more drunk in his entire life,” he said, “he immediately went to the bathroom and was throwing up in the toilet for just 15 minutes to an hour and making himself vomit.”
The roommate expressed his concerns that if no action is taken, other students may also risk becoming violently ill or dying.
Foltz was flown to the hospital after 911 was called.
Suspension for Phi Kappa Alpha
BGSU’s initial statement, released on Friday, confirmed that the university was aware of the “alleged hazing activity involving alcohol consumption.”
Further, they revealed that Phi Kappa Alpha has been placed on interim suspension and that the university is working with local law enforcement to investigate the situation.
In a separate statement released Saturday, BGSU assured the local community that it will launch “a full inquiry into each Greek chapter’s prevention and compliance responsibilities under University policies prohibiting hazing.”
The administration has already begun conducting meetings with student leaders concerning the future of Greek life at BGSU, and promised to launch a similar review for all other student organizations.
COVID-19 Safety, Hazing Violations by Fraternities
This is not the first time that a fraternity has been the subject of investigation for social gatherings and hazing, despite the coronavirus pandemic.