Anti-hazing legislation becomes law in Ohio
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Gov. Mike DeWine signed anti-hazing legislation into law Tuesday morning.
The legislation, known as Collin’s Law, increases criminal penalties for hazing activities such as forced drug or alcohol consumption. It also widened the scope of who can be punished for participating or allowing hazing to happen.
It was named after Collin Wiant, an Ohio University hazing victim who died in 2018. The bill sponsored by State Sen. Stephanie Kunze of Hilliard and Sen. Gavarone of Bowling Green was brought to the forefront after the hazing death of Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz earlier this year.
Foltz was forced to drink a handle of liquor as part of a Pi Kappa Alpha hazing ritual in March. Multiple BGSU students were criminally charged in connection to Stone’s death.
Governor DeWine said Collin’s law is about accountability and changing the culture on college campuses.
“It is something that is changing the culture that exists. Hazing has just been accepted and it’s something that after it occurs, as long as no one dies, people just kind of laugh and say that’s the way it is,” DeWine said. “What we’re saying today is that’s not the way it is and it’s not acceptable anymore.”
The parents of both Wiant and Foltz attended the bill signing ceremony. Sherri Foltz, Stone’s mother, said Collin’s law is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough.
“We will continue to fight. Our fight is zero tolerance,” said Foltz. “We will prevent this from happening and having it get to the felony. We will do everything in our power and I know stone and Collin are fighting for us and are there for us. That’s why we continue to do it. We made a promise to Stone on his hospital bed that we would keep fighting and wouldn’t allow this to happen again to anyone.”
BGSU President Rodney Rogers attended the bill signing ceremony. He said the university is working on additional measures to prevent hazing for the upcoming semester.
“At Bowling Green we’ve had a presidential task force this past spring working on a variety of additional recommendations. We’ve had outside consultants provide some additional advice, looking at best practices,” said Rogers. “We felt we were doing a very good job at this historically but we need to step it up even more in terms of education. So beginning this fall all frats and sororities have to go through a recommitment plan that includes additional education and training.”
Collin’s law goes into effect in 90 days.
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