BOWLING GREEN — A Bowling Green State University student, who was reportedly the victim of a hazing incident off campus on Thursday, has died.
“The death of Stone Foltz is a tragedy,” said Sean Alto, partner with Cooper Elliot in Columbus on Sunday night. “He was a beloved son, brother and grandson. At this time we are gathering all of the facts leading to his untimely death, and we have no interest in commenting on speculation.
“However, we do ask that you please show respect and consideration for Stone’s family. Despite their unbearable grief, they agreed to donate Stone’s organs so that others may have a second chance at life.”
Foltz is from the Delaware County area and attended Buckeye Valley High School. He graduated in 2019.
The university, which placed Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on interim suspension for the alleged hazing activity, has also suspended all new member intake processes and on- and off-campus social events of chapters in all four Greek councils on campus.
BGSU is investigating with the Bowling Green Police Division, said Alex Solis, deputy chief of staff and university spokesperson.
“We are working with local law enforcement, who are actively taking the lead in investigating this unfolding situation,” he said.
The incident reportedly took place off campus.
A Bowling Green police spokesman has been asked for comment. A lieutenant, in an email, said they were aware of the incident, were investigating and did not have anything additional to add at this time.
The university is pursuing its own student code of conduct investigation, including both the fraternity and students involved.
BGSU will also be reviewing all other student organizations.
In a letter to the university community on Sunday, President Rodney Rogers announced the suspension of Greek life across campus.
“While fraternity and sorority life has been woven into the fabric of higher education, we must act and respond today to this tragic incident,” he said.
The administration has been working with student leaders from the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, College Panhellenic Conference, Undergraduate Student Government and the undergraduate student representative to the trustees to begin to address the short- and long-term future of fraternity and sorority life at BGSU.
“Over the next week, Greek student leaders, along with our staff, will shape the framework of these plans to provide for increased accountability and to ensure hazing has no place at Bowling Green State University. We will also increase our work with our Greek national headquarter offices on safety and anti-hazing efforts,” Rogers said.
“Hazing is a national problem going beyond fraternities and sororities. BGSU has put in safeguards, policies, protocols and processes, and support services to combat hazing,” Rogers said. “We remain committed to improving, even working to address off-campus and nonsanctioned events. We will step up our efforts – increasing education, enhancing support and reporting outlets, reviewing internal processes, evaluating recruitment structures, and elevating outreach and communication campaigns.
“Let us be clear: We recognize that not all students involved in Greek life are contributing to hazing. We value our students engaged in Greek life and the home that they have found in their organizations, and we wish for a community that includes a vibrant fraternity and sorority life. Hard work lies ahead. We need to come together to demand better, and this is just the start.”
On Sunday, the university said that Pi Kappa Alpha is not currently recognized as a registered student organization, and the fraternity’s Greek letters were removed from its on-campus residence.
The fraternity, based in Memphis, Tennessee, released a statement on Saturday regarding Foltz, a new member of the Delta Beta Chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity at BGSU.
“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 BGSUchapter was put on administrative suspension.
The North American Interfraternity Conference, which is the national trade association of college fraternities, issued a statement.
“Hazing is a betrayal of the fraternal vows to which every member commits and has no place on campus. When hard alcohol is added to the mix, it is a formula for tragedy.
“The North American Interfraternity Conference is partnered with Kathleen Wiant whose son Collin died in 2018 at Ohio University and other parents of hazing victims to educate about hazing and advocate for stronger laws. Our efforts include advancing the END ALL Hazing Act in Congress and making hazing a felony through state legislation including Collin’s Law now before the Ohio State Legislature.”
Ohio Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, said that he has been monitoring the BGSU situation.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and BGSU community. As we learn more, I remain committed to furthering the Anti-Bullying and Hazing Act I co-sponsored during the last General Assembly that the House passed. We must get a bill sent to the governor’s desk to address these very serious incidents which impact our talented youth and young adults,” he said. “Incidents involving bullying and hazing happen far too often; however, we only hear about these incidents when such tragic events make headlines.”