University: Fraternity broke hazing rules in student’s death
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A university investigating the alcohol-related death of a student in Ohio has accused the fraternity he was trying to join of violating several student conduct rules involving hazing.
Members of the fraternity at Bowling Green State University gave pledges bottles of alcohol on March 4 and encouraged each to finish an entire bottle. They included 20-year-old Stone Foltz, who died three days later, university officials said Friday.
Foltz, a business major, was found unconscious by a roommate after members of the fraternity dropped him off at his apartment, according to an attorney for Foltz’s parents. He was put on life support and died after his family arranged for his organs to be donated.
The university on Friday charged the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity with violating six code of conduct rules.
“While these University charges don’t bring back student Stone Foltz, our goal is to hold those accountable who are responsible for this tragedy,” the school said in a statement.
A message seeking comment was left with the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity. It had said in a statement following Foltz’s death that it has “a zero-tolerance policy” on substance abuse, bullying and hazing and would not defend or condone any dangerous behavior.
The university also has placed the fraternity on suspension and its Greek letters have been removed from its on-campus residence.
In a letter to the fraternity chapter’s president, the university said it found that new members who attended an off-campus event on March 4 were blindfolded and taken into a basement while being yelled at and pushed in an attempt to disorient them.
They were then given alcohol and encouraged to drink, the letter said. “One new member died following this event, and other new members were severely intoxicated to the point of vomiting,” wrote Jeremy Zilmer, associate dean of students.
The fraternity was accused of breaking hazing rules that protect people from being threatened, harassed or injured and from deceptive or degrading actions. The violations outlined by the university said the fraternity gave alcohol to underage pledges, and before the event told the pledges to let their professors know they likely would not be in class the next day.
The university said its investigation into individual students is continuing, and it is working with local law enforcement agencies that are investigating.
Foltz’s death also has renewed calls for Ohio lawmakers to increase criminal penalties for hazing.