BOWLING GREEN — The parents of a Bowling Green State University student who died in an alleged hazing incident are calling for immediate Greek life reform and a complete ban of hazing.
“This needs to stop today. We need the universities and the national fraternities to shut down today and create zero tolerance for hazing,” Cory Foltz said. “And if you have any type of hazing you need to be removed from the campus.”
In a Wednesday interview, Cory and Shari Foltz, of Delaware, said they also want criminal charges to be filed.
Stone Foltz, a BGSU sophomore who was 20, died March 7 after an alleged hazing incident off campus on March 4. He reportedly drank a “handle” of alcohol, which is about 40 shots.
“The individuals involved need to be held accountable. The university needs to be held accountable. And the fraternity needs to be held accountable at the national level,” Cory said.
Shari said there also needs to be stricter laws about hazing.
“If hazing’s not made a felony, we’re just going to continue to see this go on,” she said.
Fell in love with BGSU
Stone decided on BGSU for college because it was smaller and he felt a connection, Shari said. She grew up in Fostoria and had nephews graduate from BGSU. Stone was visiting colleges and didn’t want to go to a larger campus.
“He immediately fell in love with it. He ended up rooming his first year with his best friend from high school,” Shari said.
Stone explored fraternity options as a freshman but ultimately decided not to join one.
“Early February of this year, he had reached out to me and said he was going to join a fraternity. It was really out of the blue,” Shari said. “He said there were several kids from our hometown of Delaware that were currently members of this fraternity. So he felt like he had friends there.
“He also said, ‘Mom, it’s going to be good networking,’” she said. “At that point, I didn’t question it, because I felt like he already had his mind made up. I felt like he was doing it for the right reasons.”
Stone had been open with his parents about the fraternity rituals he was going through, including cleaning houses and being a designated driver.
Shari said Stone was concerned about things ramping up. Earlier in the week, before his death, he and other pledges had been made to recite the preamble, staying up until 2 a.m. until they could get it right.
“They were having difficulty because of exhaustion,” Shari said.
He said Thursday there would be a big ritual going on, where they would have to drink.
“And I said, drink? He said, ‘Yeah, it’s part of the ritual.’ I, of course, said this is stupid. Why would you have to drink, and drink a lot?
“He said, ‘I know, but all fraternities, it’s part of their ritual.’ And I said, be smart about it. He said, ‘I will.’”
Around midnight, the couple started getting unknown calls and texts. Cory then recognized a number as one of Stone’s friends.
“She was telling me there’s been an accident and Stone was rushed to the hospital,” Cory said.
At the same time, Shari dialed back one of the missed calls and got a dispatcher.
“They explained to me that Stone was at his apartment, non-responsive and he went into cardiac arrest…I knew we had to get to Bowling Green.”
Shari said she immediately thought about the drinking ritual with the fraternity that Stone had mentioned earlier in the week.
“As frantic parents, we jumped in the car and drove two hours, unknown of what was going on with Stone. I just held Shari’s hand and prayed the whole way there, that Stone was going to be all right,” Cory said.
As they arrived at Wood County Hospital, Stone was being rushed by air ambulance to a Toledo hospital.
Over the next few days, until life support ended on March 7, they said they learned that Stone had ingested an incredibly large amount of alcohol.
“From the autopsy, the blood alcohol content was 0.394, and he was required to drink a handle of alcohol, which is equivalent to about 40 shots,” Cory said.
Son, brother, friend, hero
“Stone was a student-athlete through high school, touched a lot of people. Very positive, heartwarming attitude,” Cory said.
Stone was the oldest of three. He has a brother, AJ, 16, and sister, Jersee, 10, who he was especially close to, Shari said.
“They loved to do TikTok together. She just looked up to him and always looked forward to when he’d come home,” Shari said. “He was sincere, fun loving — everybody loved him. He was a friend to everybody.”
“We always called him a hero. He is a true hero,” Cory said.
Stone and a neighbor, Jake, used to do their homework together every night. When Jake was killed in a car accident, Stone continued to go to their home every night for a month.
“He was filling that void for the mom and dad,” Cory said.
That hero role carried over in death.
When he was 16, Stone decided to become an organ donor.
Cory said that, while at the hospital on Friday, the doctors started preparing them for the inevitable.
“They were telling us that the damage to his brain was probably catastrophic,” he said. “At that point, Shari and I knew that we needed to start prepping ourselves to support Stone’s decision.”
“There was no hesitation,” Shari said. “We immediately told the hospital we were going to proceed with organ donating.”
They received a letter on Tuesday detailing how Stone had helped others; his right kidney was transplanted to a teenage girl, his left kidney went to a pre-teen girl, his liver and lungs were transplanted to a man in his 50s, and a woman in her 20s received his heart.
“He was definitely a hero before, and a hero after,” Shari said.
Zero tolerance for hazing
Cory said he’s fearful of spring pledging going on right now.
“There could be students, new pledges, tonight facing the same issues that Stone did,” Cory said.
There needs to be a culture shift in Greek life, he said.
“The fraternities need to be able to show the campus that they can do good. If they’re not going to follow any kind of restrictions, with a zero tolerance to hazing, they should not be there,” Cory said.
Shari said they were exhausted and haven’t gone through the grieving process, but were determined to do as many media interviews as possible.
“I made a promise to Stone that we would fight and that we would put a stop to this. We do not want another person to have to go through what we’ve gone through,” she said.
Fraternities should not be about drinking alcohol, Shari said.
“It should be about brotherhood and sisterhood. We’re in 2021, why are these rituals going on? Why are they not doing acts of kindness, charity work? Anything other than these awful, horrific, torture, abuse, hazing that’s going on.”
BGSU has put Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on interim suspension. The university also suspended all new member intake processes and on- and off-campus social events of chapters in our four Greek councils.
Special counsel has also been retained by BGSU to investigate Foltz’s death.