John Carroll community reacts to hazing in Ohio


Photo courtesy of Aiden Keenan

Delta Tau Delta and Chi Omega in the octagon lounge in the basement of Hamlin Hall. (Photo taken pre pandemic)

Laken Kincaid, Staff Reporter

Since the death of Stone Foltz, a student at Bowling Green State University, campuses across the nation have started to combat hazing. With nine active Greek societies, John Carroll sororities and fraternities are prioritizing the safety of their members and working to prevent senseless tragedies due to hazing.

After Foltz’s death in early March of 2021 from a drinking-related hazing ritual, BGSU has been on high alert to stop hazing in their Greek communities. One month after the incident, the university permanently expelled the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity because of its relationship to the student’s death. Various other students were also expelled from the university as a result. 

John Carroll has reacted to Foltz’s death by initiating mandatory anti-hazing programming for all Greek Life members.

All five sorority chapters attended an anti-hazing workshop by the Anti-Hazing Coalition called “Love, Mom & Dad” on March 21. The event featured the parents of students who died due to hazing incidents at universities across the nation.

“At the Panhellenic level, we discussed hazing and Stone Foltz’s death at our weekly General Assembly meeting after it occurred,” said Madison Maselko ’23, the Panhellenic president of JCU. “We will also be sending virtual letters to Ohio representatives urging their support for Collin’s Law in the coming weeks. Named after Collin Wiant who died from a hazing-related death at OSU in 2018, Collin’s Law would increase the punishment for bullying and hazing incidents.”

At the screening, “In roughly an hour, five sets of parents talked about the loss of their child to deadly hazing. We heard heart-wrenching stories that have had a profound impact on our views on hazing,” Sammy Gunn ’24, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Risk Management Chair, told The Carroll News.

Gunn joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at John Carroll in the fall during online recruiting. She described her experience positively and said no hazing occurred during her initiation.

“Joining Greek life at JCU was one of the most rewarding experiences, and I am grateful every day that I took advantage of that opportunity,” Gunn stated. “I had never envisioned myself joining a sorority in high school, but in the heart of the pandemic, I decided to take a leap of faith and try something out of my comfort zone. The group of women I met immediately helped to alleviate that looming feeling of uncertainty and dread that the semester would be socially challenging.”

As a freshman, this gave her an immediate social group. And it was fun, she said. 

“The first few weeks of joining Greek life are some of the most exciting, with recruitment events, initiation, big/little reveal and more,” Gunn continued. “Never was hazing even an option. At the beginning of recruitment, all chapters created a united stand on a zero-tolerance hazing policy. Social media promoted the message ‘These Hands Don’t Haze,’ communicating their steadfast position.”

“It was so nice to join a fraternity here!” Aiden Keenan ‘22, the Delta Tau Delta vice president, said. “The media of course raised some concerns when I was going through the recruitment process, and my parents were a bit concerned with my joining of a ‘frat,’ but I felt so safe through the recruitment process.”

In the state of Ohio, hazing is illegal, and offenders can be punished with fines and jail time. According to current Ohio law, anyone found guilty of participating in hazing will face a fourth degree misdemeanor. Maselko said that many sororities have banned hazing on the national level. John Carroll also has anti-hazing policies for students.

“Hazing is one of those, ‘tough to describe but I know it when I see it’ situations, but it can generally be interpreted as anything that a person must do that is humiliating, difficult or unsafe in some way to join an organization,” Keenan continued.

“Anyone found in violation of this policy faces severe sanctions, up to and including suspension or dismissal,” Mary Ann Hanicak, the director of student life at JCU, said. “Student organizations, groups or teams found in violation of this policy face severe sanctions, up to and including loss of privileges to travel or organize, and could lose official recognition from the University.”

While many may be worried about the future of Greek Life across the nation, sorority sisters and fraternity brothers are giving one another support through this difficult time.

“My Kappa sisters truly are my family at JCU,” Gunn stated. “They are strength, love and inspiration; they are brilliant and brave. Our older sisters serve as role models and our biggest supporters, and our younger sisters look up to them with eyes of adoration.”

“Not only should [students] feel safe from hazing or any other harm, they should expect amazing outcomes that derive from a strong, positive and values-based undergraduate membership experience,” Hanicak said.

If you believe hazing is happening to you or someone you know at JCU, please utilize the incident report found here.