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Stone Foltz's parents file lawsuit claiming BGSU bears responsibility for his death

BGSU knew about Pi Kappa Alpha's history of hazing, including the hazing ritual that killed Foltz at the age of 20, the complaint says.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The parents of Stone Foltz are suing Bowling Green State University, saying the university is responsible for his death.

Foltz's parents, Cory and Shari, claim BGSU has ignored hazing within Greek organizations, including the fraternity Stone was pledging for before a hazing ritual involving alcohol caused his death.

BGSU knew about Pi Kappa Alpha's history of hazing, including the hazing ritual that killed Stone at the age of 20, the complaint says.

Foltz's parents believe if it were not for the university's "gross recklessness, lax policies, lax enforcement of those policies," Foltz would still be alive.

For Cory and Shari, the goal of the lawsuit is to bring change at BGSU and college campuses across the nation when it comes to fraternities.

"We actually are demanding that there's increased education to students about hazing. We want more transparency, for parents," Cory said. "We want Greek Life organizations to be held to a zero tolerance. And we want the individual university leaders to take action immediately. We can't just wait, this needs to happen now."

The family said they have tried working with BGSU for more than a year to come up with some sort of resolution. Cory and Shari felt as if they had to come to the decision of the lawsuit. 

"We have to get that change to occur first. And you know, everything has been reactive at this point. And if we're not going to be preventive, and make a change, then it's going to need to come from the university presidents and the boards," Shari said. "Otherwise, we're just going to continue to be reactive and another death is going to occur, and you can't react after the death. We need to have change now."

The family is also seeking an unspecified amount of money, but according to the lawsuit, they are seeking "in excess of $25,000" for each of the two claims listed.

BGSU released a statement that says while Foltz's death is a tragedy, the lawsuit is "meritless and undermines" the university's efforts to stop hazing.

Stone Foltz, who graduated from Buckeye Valley High School in 2019, died of alcohol poisoning after a fraternity initiation event in which he was hazed into drinking an entire bottle of whiskey in March 2021. He was found unconscious by a roommate after members of the PIKE fraternity dropped him off at his apartment. Foltz died three days later.

In April 2021, the university said PIKE violated six sections of the student conduct code in connection to Foltz's death.

Eight former fraternity members were indicted on charges in connection to Foltz's death, six of whom pleaded guilty to various charges ranging from reckless homicide to hazing.

Tomorrow morning on CBS Mornings, hear more from Cory and Shari about what they are demanding from Bowling Green State University and fraternities across the country.

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