Bowling Green State University in Ohio reached a $2.9 million settlement agreement with the family of Stone Foltz, a 20-year-old sophomore who died in 2021 after members of a fraternity he was pledging hazed him at an off-campus initiation event. The settlement ends a nearly two-year legal battle that began shortly after Foltz died of alcohol poisoning in March 2021 as he was pledging the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, the New York Times reports. His parents, Cory and Shari Foltz, said they planned to use the money from the settlement of their wrongful-death lawsuit to support the anti-hazing efforts of the iamstonefoltz Foundation, which they started after their son died. “From Day 1, we’ve always wanted the same thing as Bowling Green: to eradicate hazing across the country,” Cory Foltz said at a news conference. “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.”
The off-campus event that Foltz attended required new members, known as “little brothers” or “littles,” to consume large amounts of alcohol. Foltz, who like most new members was underage, drank about a liter of whiskey, prosecutors said. His roommate found him unresponsive in their apartment. He died three days later. The Lucas County coroner ruled that Foltz died as a result of “fatal ethanol intoxication during hazing incident.” Prosecutors said that during the police investigation several of the fraternity members lied to investigators and destroyed both physical and electronic evidence. Five men pleaded guilty to various charges in connection with Foltz’s death, including reckless homicide, hazing and tampering with evidence. Two others were found guilty of misdemeanor counts after being acquitted of more serious charges, including involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.