YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The parents and sister of Stone Foltz travel to spread the word about the dangers of hazing. Monday night, they spoke at Youngstown State University.
Last year, Stone died after drinking too much alcohol during a fraternity initiation at Bowling Green.
At YSU on Monday, a liter of Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon was prominently displayed at the front of the Chestnut Room. On March 4, 2021, Stone drank the whole thing while pledging the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
“He unfortunately drank it within 18 to 20 minutes,” said Shari Foltz, Stone’s mother.
Stone’s mother, father and sister told his story to 100 YSU students, many of whom wore the merchandise of their fraternities and sororities. The presentations are part of the pledge they made to Stone when he was in the hospital.
“We’ll make a promise to you that we’re going to do whatever it takes so that no other family has to go through this because it’s senseless,” Shari said.
Adjoining the stage were signs reading “Never leave anyone behind” because the night Stone drank, two fraternity members took him home and left him on the couch.
“Things happen and when they do it’s how you handle them that could result in life or death,” said Corey Foltz, Stone’s father.
The Foltzs are asking university officials to abolish the pledge process.
“We’re saying let’s take away the vehicle that is driving the danger for these kids, and that is the pledge process,” Corey said.
A graphic showed that 42 percent of varsity athletic teams and 38 percent of fraternities and sororities have hazing rituals. With the passage of Collin’s Law, hazing involving drugs or alcohol is now a felony in Ohio. Stone’s death came before Collin’s Law, so the eight men charged with his death received from two weeks to two months in jail. But the Foltzs say their lives have been ruined, too.
“That’s another reason why we want to eradicate hazing across the country is because it’s not worth ruining everybody’s life,” Corey said.
YSU President Jim Tressel also spoke, saying YSU is committed to preventing hazing. YSU has produced a training program on hazing, training that 6,500 students have already gone through.