Collin’s Law, which memorializes Ohio University student Collin Wiant who died of asphyxiation in November 2018 at Sigma Pi’s unofficial annex house, unanimously passed Wednesday in the Ohio Senate.
The law was originally passed in the Ohio House in 2020 but was stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a previous Post report. In early March, the law was reintroduced in the Ohio legislature following the death of Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz from an alleged hazing incident.
If passed in the House, Collin’s Law will increase hazing charges from a misdemeanor to a felony and includes new requirements for universities and their Greek life organizations. According to a previous Post report, universities will be required to keep record of all Code of Conduct violations of student organizations. This will allow students and their families to view information regarding organizations before choosing to join.
Kathleen Wiant, Collin’s mother, said she is relieved and excited to hear the Senate passed the law and is looking forward to seeing it enter the House.
“If we can get through the House, our goal is to get it to Gov. (Mike) DeWine’s desk by the end of June,” Kathleen Wiant said. “If he can sign it by the end of June, it will be in effect this fall, when kids go off to college, and that has been our goal.”
At OU, there have been advocacy efforts to pass Collin’s Law through a Letter-Writing Campaign, which took place in April and gave students the opportunity to write letters to their state representative or senator regarding Collin’s Law or provide a personal story relating to Collin, according to a previous Post report.
Ariel Tarosky, the director of Sorority and Fraternity Life at OU, said she is very excited the law is moving to the House; however, she is not sure how soon these changes will be implemented if it’s passed.
“It's just really awesome to think that our students' voices probably got this to where it's at,” Tarosky said. “Hopefully, this will be voted on and pass by the end of the month, so we can potentially see some big changes for the start of the school year.”
Tarosky also noted how Sorority and Fraternity Life’s advocacy work is not over yet.
“We have a link posted on our Instagram that will direct people to fill out a form that takes probably 10 seconds, and then that immediately gets sent to your legislator,” Tarosky said. “It's just again to get like how important this is in front of the people that are going to sign off on it and make a decision.”
Kathleen Wiant said she hopes people continue to reach out to their legislators and advocate in support for Collin’s Law as it moves through the House.
“I'm relieved and excited,” Kathleen Wiant said. “(I’m) just trying to be cautiously excited because ...I know we're not done yet. I know we still have some work to do.”
Molly Wilson contributed to this report.