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Family reaches $2.9 million settlement in lawsuit over Bowling Green State University hazing death

<i>Patrick Orsagos/AP</i><br/>Shari Foltz
Patrick Orsagos/AP
Shari Foltz

By Michelle Watson and Kiely Westhoff, CNN

The family of Stone Foltz, a Bowling Green State University student who prosecutors said died from alcohol intoxication during a 2021 fraternity hazing, has reached a $2.9 million settlement with the university, the family’s attorney announced Monday.

“Kudos to Bowling Green and the state of Ohio for understanding the importance of sending a message, in this case that this has got to stop, at least in the state of Ohio and hopefully beyond,” attorney Rex Elliott said.

The settlement is the largest payout by a public university in a hazing case in the state of Ohio, Elliott said.

As part of the settlement, there is a commitment from Bowling Green to partner with the Foltz family in the effort to eradicate hazing in the US, the family and school said in a joint statement.

“The Foltz family and Bowling Green State University are forever impacted by the tragic death of Stone Foltz,” the statement said.

“This resolution keeps the Foltz family and BGSU community from reliving the tragedy for years to come in the courtroom and allows us to focus on furthering our shared mission of eradicating hazing in Ohio and across the nation. Leading these efforts in our communities is the real work that honors Stone,” the statement said.

Stone Foltz, 20, died in March 2021 after he was found unresponsive in his apartment, CNN previously reported.

Prosecutors said a coroner ruled his death an accident resulting from a fatal level of alcohol intoxication during a hazing involving members of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity’s Delta Beta Chapter in Bowling Green, CNN reported.

Two fraternity members were sentenced to 42 days in jail, followed by 28 days of house arrest, and placed on two years of probation with conditions, according to a release from Wood County prosecutor Paul Dobson. Defense attorneys for both fraternity members confirmed they served their sentences.

In April 2021 the fraternity chapter was permanently expelled from campus for hazing violations, university spokesperson Alex Solis announced at the time.

Stone’s mother and father, Shari and Cory Foltz, plan to use the money from the settlement to support the family’s non-profit organization, which is dedicated to eradicating hazing and educating the community on its dangers.

“Obviously, the money has nothing that means anything to us because it’s not going to bring Stone back,” said Stone’s mother, Shari Foltz.

“What it does allow is us to move forward and help us through the foundation,” she said adding, “we can continue our fight in saving lives.”

Shari Foltz said she and her husband made a promise to their son in the hospital that they would do everything they could to keep this from happening to anyone else.

“I think he would be proud because he knows that’s exactly what we’re doing,” she said.

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