PIKE halts new member programming nationwide due to alleged hazing-related death at BGSU

A sophomore pledge at the Delta Beta chapter at Bowling Green State University died on March 8, 2021 from an alleged alcohol-related hazing incident.

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Hallie Williams

Pi Kappa Alpha house as photographed on Nov. 15, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Hallie Williams)

Rachael Perrotta, Staff Writer

The Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) International Fraternity nationally paused new member programming on March 11 due to an alleged hazing-related death at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), per an email sent from PIKE Executive Vice President Justin Buck obtained by The Hustler.

Stone Foltz, a sophomore unreported new member (pledge) at the PIKE Delta Beta Chapter, died on March 8 due to alcohol consumption at an off-campus PIKE event on March 4. The drinking challenge allegedly involved single-handedly consuming a 1.75-liter handle of alcohol in a short period of time, per reporting from 10 WBS. 

“The Fraternity has a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal activity, substance abuse, bullying, and hazing of any kind,” the International Fraternity’s statement on the incident reads.

This comes in the wake of PIKE’s “Reimagine Fraternity” initiative. 

Per the PIKE International Fraternity website, “[Reimagine Fraternity is] our long-term commitment to setting a new standard of ambition, accountability, and inclusion for ourselves and for all fraternities. We think of this as no less than a re-founding of Pi Kappa Alpha.”

The International Fraternity, with support from BGSU administration, suspended the Delta Beta Chapter with plans of permanent removal. 

“As more details are confirmed, we will also pursue permanent suspension of Delta Beta Chapter as well as expulsion of all chapter members from the International Fraternity,” the statement affirms.  

Additionally, the International Fraternity instructed all chapters to immediately cancel new member activities until further notice. 

“The Supreme Council has made the difficult and unprecedented decision to immediately and indefinitely suspend all new member activities,” Buck said in his email. “This policy applies to every chapter and provisional chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha.”

Buck references Foltz’s death as the reason behind this decision.

“Now is the time for you and your chapter to take pause, reflect, and examine your health and safety initiatives, accountability measures, and general support mechanisms for one another,” the email reads.

When asked if the International Fraternity had instructed PIKE chapters to cease all new member programming, Interfraternity Council (IFC) President John Blang said in an email to The Hustler that he was aware of the notice.

“[They] are complying with it,” Blang said.

Vanderbilt Office of Greek Life (OGL) President Kristin Torrey, Vanderbilt PIKE President Hamilton Wang and New Member President Zack Schuller deferred their comments on the matter to the International Fraternity’s statement. Joseph Hatcher, Vanderbilt PIKE new member educator, did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment.

“Fraternities and sororities, as well as other student organizations or athletic teams, are prohibited from hazing,” the OGL website reads. “It is not only a violation of University policy, but hazing is also prohibited in the state of Tennessee and a violation of state law.”

This incident parallels a 2015 PIKE alcohol and hazing-related death at the Eta Nu Chapter (Northern Illinois University). David Bogenberger died from a cardiac arrhythmia caused by excessive alcohol consumption at an initiation party at the Eta Nu PIKE house. Bogenberger’s death caused the largest hazing trial in the US to date, with 22 ex-brothers charged.