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Family of BGSU hazing victim Stone Foltz unveils new foundation in his honor

Newly-established 'iamstonefoltz' Foundation aims to provide hope, education and scholarships in memory of Stone Foltz.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Former Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz would have turned 21 on Nov. 21.

Sadly, his life ended in March after a fraternity-forced night of excessive drinking. 

Foltz was at a Pi Kappa Alpha, or PIKE, new member initiation in March where new members, most of them underaged, were instructed to drink a whole bottle of high alcohol content liquor.

Foltz allegedly drank all or nearly all of the bottle given to him - the equivalent of 40 shots - before he was dropped off at his apartment. He was later taken to the hospital where he died of fatal ethanol intoxication, according to the coroner.

The Wood County Prosecutor says Foltz was hazed. Hazing is now considered a third-degree felony after the passing of Collin's Law in October, which was reintroduced in Ohio after Foltz's death.


Stone's family wants to keep his memory alive even further in the form of a brand-new foundation in his honor.

It's been an exhausting, emotionally draining last few months for the Stone Foltz family.

Eight Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity members were charged in his death; charges of one were then dropped. The remaining seven defendants originally plead not guilty to all charges, which ranged from first-degree felony manslaughter to reckless homicide and hazing. Aaron Lehane then changed his plea to guilty on 11 of the 17 charges he faced. 

BGSU has permanently banned Pi Kappa Alpha from campus due to its history of hazing and dishonesty. The university also expelled three students and suspended 18 after Foltz's death.

Credit: Family of Stone Foltz
Credit: Family of Stone Foltz

Shari and Cory have been back and forth to Wood County for court hearings, they've made trips to Columbus to push for zero tolerance in the state, and they were there in July to see Collin's Law signed into law.

"You know, through all this and everything that we have to go through daily, people don't realize that we're reliving this every time we have to travel to Wood County, every time we have to do an interview; it's really, really hard,” said Stone's mom Shari Foltz.

During the interview, WTOL 11 asked Shari and dad Cory Foltz if they had heard from the parents of the accused. 

"We received a letter probably about a month ago from one of the parents," Shari said. "[It was] very sympathetic, consoling, definitely apologetic - I could feel the sincerity reading it. Do I necessarily want to hear from other parents? No, I don't. Not at this point."

Stone's aunt DJ Williams says the family wants to make sure Stone's hazing-related death brings about hope rather than despair - and most importantly, education. That's the message behind the new "iamstonefoltz" Foundation.

"To us, it's about getting the messages to the young guys and gals out there that are getting ready to go into this adult world where they have all this freedom, and then trying to recognize that it can be dangerous,” said Williams.

The family wants to “school” college students about hazing with the new foundation. But more than that, they want to reach them in high school. They say plans are in the works for talks and videos, but they want to make sure the message sticks.

"I think the way you communicate now with younger people is not how you and I would have communicated back in our day,” said Williams. “The social media, the way that these kids actually learn, it's through shock value. There's nothing out there anymore that seems to shock them."

Buckeye Valley High School, Stone's high school in Delaware, OH,  will play host to an all-day basketball fundraiser as part of the launch of the Foundation and to raise money for scholarships. 

Credit: Foltz family
The family of Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz, who died March 7, days after an alleged alcohol-fueled fraternity hazing event, want justice for their son's death.

"Nov. 21, my brother's birthday, it's a big deal,” said Stone’s brother A.J. ”I think everyone will have a great time. It's his birthday; I just want everyone to know we're celebrating it."

Fourteen Ohio universities pledged this summer to take a more concerted step toward deterring hazing. But the Foltz family wants zero tolerance to go national - and they think the key might be US Senator Sherrod Brown.

"His death certainly woke up the state and woke up the legislature to this problem that's been around a long time, and it's something that I think Washington should look at," said Sen. Brown. "I think it would be a service, frankly, to the colleges if there were some national standards and some national criteria to make this work better."

The "iamstonefoltz" Foundation is already sharing its branding with t-shirts, stickers and wristbands with the message, "never leave anyone behind."

"When the incident happened in Stone's apartment, he was dropped off and left by himself,” Cory started to explain. While he was fighting back tears, Shari continued, “and that's why on the inside of it we have "never leave anyone behind." That was huge because in our mind, he would've never have done that.”

Cory says the family focuses each and every day on what they call "little wins." Not losses, but wins.

They hope one of those wins will be the response they get from the basketball fundraiser on their son and brother's birthday.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the "iamstonefoltz" Foundation. 


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