On 27 May, 2022, two fraternity members accused in the death of Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz were convicted of several hazing-related charges, but acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.
CBS reported that in March 2021, 20-year-old Green State University student Stone Foltz and several other students took part in a hazing ritual for college fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. As part of the initiation, Foltz was promised membership in the fraternity on the condition that he drink an entire bottle of alcohol.
After Stone Foltz nearly consumed the entire bottle, fraternity members took him to his apartment, where he remained unconscious and had to eventually be hospitalized. Three days later he died of alcohol poisoning at the Prat Promedica Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. The university commemorated him with a memorial service.
Several members of Pi Kappa Alpha, better known as PIKE were charged in Holtz’s death, including 24-year-old Troy Henricksen and 20-year-old Jacob Krinn. The court found Henrickson guilty of 8 counts of hazing and seven counts of failing to comply with underage alcohol rules, all of which were misdemeanors. Krinn was convicted of hazing and failure to comply, along with obstruction of official business. They are scheduled to be sentenced on July 8 and July 29, respectively.
The hazing ritual of Stone Foltz
According to NBC news, in their efforts to join Pi Kappa Alpha, Foltz and other potential members attended an off-campus party held by senior fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha members. Each of the initiates, called pledges or “little brothers”, were paired with “big brothers”. Fraternities use this system to create a form of guidance for new members.
According to Wood Country Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson, established fraternity members encouraged the underage Foltz to drink a whole bottle of alcohol. As per court documents, Foltz finished his bottle of high-alcohol liquor in only 18 minutes. Trash cans were placed around the room, as it was expected many initiates would vomit.
“It is alleged that Stone Foltz consumed all or nearly all of the contents of his bottle and then was taken home by several members, including his big brother Jacon Krinn. He was left there alone.”
The fraternity members drove an unconscious Stone Foltz to his apartment, where they eventually left him. After a while Foltz’s girlfriend arrived to look after the unconscious student, but upon realizing he had stopped breathing, she called the police.
Foltz was eventually transported to the Toledo hospital, where he died after 3 days. The university launched an investigation into the matter, charging the local chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha with various violations including hazing and underage drinking. The fraternity was expelled from the campus.
In an official statement, Bowling Green State University expressed their reasons for banning the fraternity from campus altogether.
“The university’s investigation found the fraternity to be reckless with a disregard for the health and safety of our community."
"The investigation also revealed a deep culture of deception rooted in the organization, filled with dishonesty and disrespect for our community.”
Justice for Stone Holtz
On April 29, 2021, Dobson charged 8 members of Pi Kappa Alpha for the death of Stone Foltz. While Henricksen and Krinn face the most serious charges, CBS reports that the other six accused are likely to face probation.
Eric Long, an attorney representing Henricksen, said that the situation was unfortunate, but charges of manslaughter would be too harsh.
“This is clearly a tragic matter; however, it is not being helped by the indictment of Troy Henricksen. The facts are clear, even at this early juncture that he is not criminally liable.”
The parents of Stone Foltz, Shari and Cory Foltz, have been extremely vocal in condemning Pi Kappa Alpha and hazing rituals in general.
Shari Foltz said:
“We will not stop until we can eradicate hazing altogether because this is not the way any parents want to live or any siblings want to live.”
“I mean, our life completely changed. There is not a day that doesn’t go by that we are not mourning the loss of Stone and trying to remember the good memories that we’ve had. But it is hard. And it’s not right and it’s not fair.”
As a result of their experiences, Shari and Cory Foltz have taken steps to push anti-hazing bills, intending to eradicate dangerous fraternity initiation rituals across Ohio.
The legacy of Stone Foltz
According to 10TV, Shari and Cory decided to keep Stone Foltz alive long enough to donate his organs in order to carry on his legacy. According to Cory Foltz, nearly 100 transplants were successful.
“We did hear that his heart was a successful transplant to a female in her 20s and she’s been able to spend time with her 5-year-old now. So that’s just amazing, hearing those good stories.”
Shari Foltz also told news outlets about how grateful she was that her sons’ organs could change people's lives for the better. She hopes to meet the patients who received the transplants.
“It would mean everything to us to get to meet her and meet the others that you know were recipients of Stone’s organs, because it just means so much. And we hope that’s what we carry on.”
After Stone Foltz's death, Shari also spoke publicly against university hazing rituals, pushing the governor to prioritize an anti-hazing bill called Collin’s Law, which called for stricter hazing penalties in Ohio. The bill was signed at the beginning of July 2021.