Though the fraternity was temporarily suspended, students remain outraged
by mo juenger, world news editor
Bowling Green State University (BGSU) sophomore Stone Foltz died on March 6 after an alleged fraternity hazing incident off campus. While investigators have not made any conclusive statements, students around campus have expressed outrage at their administration’s perceived lack of action after Foltz’s passing.
The autopsy report did not specify the cause of death, commenting that it was still under investigation. Other BGSU students have added, under the condition of anonymity, that they believe the cause of death was related to excessive drinking occuring at a fraternity party that night.
Pi Kappa Alpha, more colloquially known as the Pikes, was the fraternity house where Foltz became severely ill. After returning to his housing after the event, Foltz’s roommates noticed his poor condition. They immediately called an ambulance, which then called an emergency medical helicopter to airlift him to a nearby hospital.
The Pike fraternity has since been indefinitely suspended by BGSU authorities. The identifying letters have been removed from their house, though students are calling for more severe action.
Students involved in Greek life at BGSU have requested that the fraternity be permanently disbanded following the incident. During a campus-wide town hall meeting last week, students voiced displeasure with the administration’s response.
Student-faculty meetings occurred on March 6, with unanswered questions leaving many students upset.
“While our community deserves a space to process this tragic incident and we cannot censor freedom of speech… we strongly encourage those who are sharing their opinions and potentially misleading details on social media to cease and recognize that the student’s family and friends are in those same spaces reliving the trauma and grief from these comments,” BGSU tweeted the same day.
Students lashed out against the university on Twitter, wiaccusing BGSU of leniency regarding hazing.
“You could have easily prevented this if you took hazing allegations seriously, if you took hazing more seriously and stopped protecting Pike for everything,” @yuhboikak replied.
“They murdered a student,” @AlexNovakFilm added. “Disband every Greek organization on campus and expel the students who killed this child.”
The international Pike organization publicly condemned the incident, adding that they were “horrified and outraged.”
“The Fraternity has a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal activity, substance abuse, bullying and hazing of any kind. Let us reiterate in the strongest terms: We refuse to defend or condone any behavior that creates dangerous environments or situations for our members,” their statement read.
However, some Ohio students disagree. BGSU students noted that the Pike fraternity is notorious for its hazing practices.
“All the frats have on-campus housing, but the university controls those and has security cameras inside. So all the frats have off-campus party houses, and that’s where (the hazing incident) happened,” a sophomore special education major at BGSU said.
“Pike is known for (going off-campus) during hazing every year. All the Bigs pick a bottle of liquor and their little has to drink the whole thing,” they added. A handle of liquor has 39 shots of alcohol inside of it.
According to health experts, after 10 drinks, the average male will black out. After 15, he will quickly lose consciousness. Twenty drinks, just over half the amount that a pledge might be forced to drink in a hazing ritual, is considered a lethal dosage.
A Greek life “Big” is an upperclassman assigned to take care of a first-year, or a “Little.” Their leadership roles are traditionally to make a Little feel welcome within a sorority or fraternity, though at BGSU, some students believe Bigs are responsible for the hazing of incoming members.
“(The hazing is) very irresponsible, because your Big is supposed to take care of you, not leave you drunk and alone in your apartment,” they said.
Ohio state Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, shared a Facebook post decrying the incident, noting his involvement in the failed 2020 Ohio legislation against hazing and bullying. Ohio Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, also shared a promise to dedicate herself to current and future anti-hazing policies.
Rep. Ghanbari and Ohio State Rep. Michael Sheehy, D-Oregon, introduced House Bill 130 on March 10, a piece of legislation similar to earlier Ohio efforts.
Foltz’s family has also filed a lawsuit against the fraternity, though their lawyer has not yet released details regarding the case.