Stone Foltz’s death in a hazing incident at Bowling Green State University is pushing universities across the country to re-evaluate their hazing policies. The cause of death of the sophomore college student was alcohol poisoning.
After Stone Foltz’s death eight fraternity members were indicted, ranging in age from 19 to 23. Stone’s family said that these charges were “one step in the right direction.” They added: “swift action also needs to be taken by government officials and university presidents nationwide to abolish fraternity hazing.”
Stone’s parents are currently pushing for Ohio to pass a bill that would make fraternity hazing a criminal act and punishable by law. At the state and federal level, anti-hazing laws must be strengthened and need to be more comprehensible so hazers can be held accountable.
Attorneys Rex Elliott and Sean Alto, who represent Stone’s parents, made a statement after the indictments. “We are grateful for all of the hard work conducted by local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office, and we are confident they will make sure justice is served. However, today is just one step in the right direction. Swift action also needs to be taken by government officials and university presidents nationwide to abolish fraternity hazing,” the statement said.
“We are living every parent’s worst nightmare and will not be at peace until fraternity hazing is seen for what it truly is — abuse. It’s unacceptable, and in Stone’s case, it was fatal,” the statement continued.
The fraternity responsible for Stone Foltz’s death, Pi Kappa Alpha, has been permanently banned from campus at Bowling Green State University. BGSU has anti-hazing policies listed on their website.
Back in 2019, a Senate Bill was passed that brought stricter policies regarding hazing for universities in Texas, more commonly known as the “Anti-Hazing Law.” However, just because a law is in place, does not stop hazing from happening.
Hazing rituals for fraternities and sororities have been a problem in the United States for years. BGSU took a step in the right direction deciding to ban Stone Foltz’s fraternity, and those fraternity brothers involved were criminally charged with the alcohol-related death.
One of the eight who were indicted was charged with first-degree manslaughter, a charge that carries a maximum of 11 years in prison. Most were charged with a third-degree felony, which carried a maximum of three years in prison, Mr. Dobson, a Wood County Prosecuting Attorney, said. However, the family of Mr. Foltz says that they “will not be at peace until fraternity hazing is seen for what it truly is – abuse.”
Hank Nuwer, author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives, cautioned: “There seems to be a disconnect — not seeing that alcohol-related hazing can kill.”