TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Fraternity members in Ohio who organized an alleged hazing ritual that led to the alcohol poisoning death of a 20-year-old pledge in March were well aware of how dangerous it could be, said an investigation released Friday.
Before the party, organizers set out trash cans for vomiting, told the pledges to let professors know they likely would not be in class the next day and arranged for designated drivers and members to watch over them when they became intoxicated, the report said.
“It demonstrates that active members were aware and cognizant of the danger posed by the event, and that new members would need to be monitored for safety reasons,” according to the findings from a law firm hired by Bowling Green State University.
Stone Foltz, who was joining the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Bowling Green, was found unconscious by a roommate after the party and died three days later.
The university said Friday it has accused 21 students of breaking student conduct rules that include hazing, bringing harm to others and disregarding health and safety.
Eight current or former members of the fraternity were indicted in April on criminal charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to hazing. Foltz’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week against the fraternity and several of its members.
Foltz died after drinking an entire bottle of bourbon — one witness said in about 20 minutes — and could not walk on his own afterward, according to the law firm’s investigation. Most of the other pledges also finished an entire bottle on their own, it said.
The report found no evidence that the pledges were required to drink the entire bottle. But it said there was a tradition of new members finishing or attempting to finish a bottle and Foltz was under the impression he needed to do so as part of the pledge process.
Foltz, a business major from Delaware, Ohio, was dropped off afterward at his apartment by two fraternity members and another pledge.
His roommate came home and found him facedown on a couch and still breathing, but he soon stopped breathing and his face and ears turned purple and blue, his family’s lawsuit said.
He was taken to a hospital, put on life support and died after his family arranged for his organs to be donated.