- Death of Stone Foltz Results in Severe Criminal Consequences
- Public University Attempts to Ban All Fraternities and Sororities
- Judge Blows the Whistle On The Implicit Bias Against Greek Organizations by University Administration
- Mandatory Arbitration Provision in Fraternity/ Sorority Membership Agreements
Newsletter > May 2021 > "Death of Stone Foltz Results in Severe Criminal Consequences"
Death of Stone Foltz Results in Severe Criminal Consequences
Tim Burke, Fraternal Law Partners, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stone Foltz died on March 7, 2021 of alcohol poisoning. He had a blood alcohol content reported to be four times over the legal limit.
Two months later, the criminal consequences of the conduct alleged to have caused his death have begun to become clear. Eight individuals involved in what is alleged to have been a fraternity hazing incident now face criminal charges. Some may end up in prison for more than a decade. The charges range from multiple counts against each individual of failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, hazing and obstruction of justice, all of which are misdemeanors, to far more serious felony charges of first- and third-degree involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, reckless homicide, and tampering with evidence. All but one of the eight individuals charged face at least one felony charge.
The individuals charged no doubt did not set out to kill Stone Foltz, but if it is true that some or all of them provided Foltz with a fifth of alcohol and required him to drink all or most of it as part of a made-up big brother/little brother event, those actions could have caused his death. If true, the individuals violated not only the criminal laws of the state of Ohio, but the rules and policies of both Bowling Green State University, where Foltz was a student, and the rules and policies of Pi Kappa Alpha (“Pike”). Pike’s chapter at Bowling Green has been closed by the University and by Pi Kappa Alpha.
Law enforcement and elected officials will not stand for this kind of conduct, even if the injury or death it causes was unintentional. States are tightening their hazing laws and making consequences for their violation more severe. It is likely that Ohio will now do the same.
Two other deaths this spring, Adam Oakes, a student at Virginia Commonwealth and Eli Weinstock, of American University, remain under investigation as potential hazing-related deaths. As a result, there may well be other students facing similar criminal charges. It is perhaps the only way that some will finally get the message that this kind of conduct must not continue. As Stone Foltz’ death highlights, some haven’t yet accepted the rules of either their University or their fraternity or the laws of the state. Stone Foltz’ life should not have been put in danger; his parents should not have lost their son. There will be consequences. And they will likely be severe.