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Ohio’s Bowling Green State University, family of hazing victim Stone Foltz reach historic settlement

The parents of fallen fraternity hazing victim Stone Foltz announced Monday a historic $2.9 million settlement with Bowling Green State University over one year after their son died in March 2021 from alcohol poisoning linked to hazing at the Ohio school. 

Shari and Cory Foltz settled with Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in what was called the “the largest payout by a public university in a hazing case” in state history. In a joint statement, the Foltz family and the university wrote they are “forever impacted by the tragic death.”

“This resolution keeps the Foltz family and BGSU community from reliving the tragedy for years to come in the courtroom and allows us to focus on furthering our shared mission of eradicating hazing in Ohio and across the nation. Leading these efforts in our communities is the real work that honors Stone.”

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Joined by their attorneys, Rex Elliott and Sean Alto, the group emphasized the importance of proactive measures against hazing at colleges nationwide, and said the nearly $3 million will allow the family to “move forward” with the expansion of their foundation, the iamstonefoltz FOUNDATION. 

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In addition to the money, Elliott said BGSU has committed to partnering in their efforts “to eradicate hazing.”

“Greek organizations will not survive if hazing doesn’t come to an end,” Elliott said. “Hazing and pledge programs are a relic of the past.”

Shari Foltz said at a Monday press conference they plan to further their education component of the foundation and to “continue our fight and saving lives.” 

“The money is nothing that means anything to us, because it’s not going to bring Stone back,” she said. “That piece of our heart is never going to be filled again. Closure is never going to be there for us.”

OHIO STUDENT’S ALCOHOL-RELATED HAZING DEATH RULED ACCIDENT

Cory Foltz said he and his wife and BGSU have “always wanted the same thing.” 

“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.”

Foltz was pledging the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity in 2021. The 20-year-old had attended a fraternity event where there was allegedly a tradition of having pledges finish or try to drink full bottles of alcohol. 

Fraternity members allegedly then took Foltz to his apartment, where they left him until he was later found unconscious. He was placed on life support and died days later. Eight ex-fraternity members were convicted at trial or pleaded guilty to charges related to the hazing-related incident. 

Court documents show the university and others involved in Foltz’s death have already paid his family more than $7 million, according to The Associated Press. 

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Shari Foltz said she thought her son would be “proud.” She recalled how they vowed to their son on his hospital bed “that we would end hazing.”

“He knows we have the fight in us,” she said. “We won’t stop. That day in the hospital and making that promise to him … we wouldn’t allow this to happen to anyone else. And I think he would, he would be proud, because he knows that’s exactly what we’re doing.” 

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