Governor to sign ‘Collin’s Law’ for tougher hazing penalties

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Tougher criminal penalties for hazing are expected to take effect in Ohio this fall, nearly three years after the death of the college student for whom the legislation is named.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine was slated to sign “Collin’s Law” on Tuesday, setting it up to take effect in early October. It’s named for Collin Wiant, an 18-year-old Ohio University freshman who died in 2018 after ingesting nitrous oxide at a fraternity house.

Under the new law, hazing violations would be elevated to second-degree misdemeanors, and hazing involving forced consumption of drugs or alcohol that seriously harms someone would be a third-degree felony punishable with possible prison time. The measure also requires that college campuses provide anti-hazing training and online information about reported hazing violations.

It cleared the Legislature with bipartisan support. When the House passed the bill, lawmakers stood to applaud Wiant’s mother, who had championed the legislation and was there for the session.

Seven people from a fraternity pleaded guilty to charges in the Wiant case.

Momentum to stiffen hazing penalties later grew after Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz died in March following another alleged fraternity hazing. Seven current or former fraternity members have pleaded not guilty to various charges in that case.

Wiant’s parents and Foltz’s parents are scheduled to join DeWine at the bill signing, along with several university presidents.

The Associated Press