Anti-Hazing "Collin's Law" Named After Student Who Died Now in Effect in Ohio

Collin's Law, Ohio's new legislation which makes hazing a felony, went into effect this week. The law was named after 18-year-old Collin Wiant, a student at Ohio University who died in a hazing incident in 2018.

"Some people have said that hazing is a longtime tradition and I think today, with all due respect, that tradition ends," Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner said.

Gardner said he believes this legislation is the most comprehensive way to reduce or eliminate hazing in the state. "I'm confident that this is a really important next step toward making our colleges and our universities, our communities, as safe as possible," he said.

"Today I woke up not knowing how I would feel today, and I was surprised that today I woke up really happy and joyful about this," Wiant's mother, Kathleen Wiant, said. "I just keep thinking that, if Collin had received education on hazing that students now will be receiving because of Collin's Law, that he would be alive today."

In July, Governor Mike DeWine signed the legislation which enacts strict penalties for hazing in Ohio. Under the new law, hazing violations in the state will be treated as second-degree misdemeanors and incidents involving forced consumption of drugs or alcohol causing harm to a person will be classified as third-degree felonies with the possibility of jail time.

In 2018, Wiant was a freshman at Ohio University pledging a fraternity. His family filed a wrongful death suit against the fraternity back in 2019 alleging that members of the fraternity forced Wiant to consume a "cocktail" of drugs including cocaine, Adderall and Xanax, as well as nitrous oxide and copious amounts of alcohol. His official cause of death was asphyxia from nitrous oxide.

According to statistics collected by Inside Hazing, an organization created by psychologist Susan Lipkins, about 29 percent of respondents said extreme consumption was part of an initiation they took part in and 81 percent of respondents believed hazing has become more dangerous over the past 10 years, mostly due to the increased alcohol consumption.

This new legislation will also require colleges and universities to provide anti-hazing training and will also make reports of hazing available online in the interest of transparency.

Collin's Law also contains requirements for university-authored anti-hazing plans. These requirements include having an operating definition of hazing as well as introducing possible sanctions and creating a "public affirmative statement that hazing is prohibited."

Earlier this year, Stone Foltz, a student at Bowling Green State University, died after an alleged hazing incident. According to Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson, six men were charged with manslaughter and two with hazing after Foltz was found unresponsive due to alcohol poisoning and died two days later in the hospital.

Ohio Puts Anti-Hazing Law into Effect
"Collin's Law" was put into effect in Ohio yesterday after the death of a freshman Collin Wiant during a hazing incident and the death of Stone Foltz, another student who died from alcohol poisoning during an alleged hazing incident. pabradyphoto/Getty Images

According to Dobson, Foltz's blood-alcohol level was four times the legal limit at .35 percent. Dobson said Foltz was allegedly required to attend the party as part of the fraternity initiation process. Dobson said all the fraternity pledges were given 750 ml of alcohol to finish by the end of the night.

"It is alleged that Stone Foltz consumed all or nearly all of the contents of his bottle and then was taken home by several members, including his big brother Jacob Krinn," Dobson said. "He was left there alone."

On Thursday, the governor spoke about the dangers of hazing at Bowling Green State University where Foltz attended.

"It should not be acceptable or part of the culture to have hazing," he told students. "Hazing is not what we want, hazing can be lethal. We've seen it be deadly here on Bowling Green campus. We never want to see another family go through that ever again."