The Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed an amended version of Collin’s Law, an anti-hazing bill, Friday following unanimous approval from the Ohio Senate June 16.
Senate Bill 126, which memorializes Ohio University student Collin Wiant who died of asphyxiation at the unofficial annex house of Sigma Pi in November 2018, seeks to increase the penalty of hazing from a misdemeanor to a felony and includes new requirements for Greek life organizations, according to a previous Post report.
The law was originally passed by the House in November 2020 but stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a previous Post report. The law was reintroduced in March 2021 after Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz died in an alleged hazing incident.
The House’s amended version of the bill removes a provision that would make it illegal for parents or guardians of university students to recklessly allow an act of hazing in certain cases.
Kathleen Wiant, Collin’s mother, was in attendance when the law was passed Friday.
“It was just unbelievable,” Kathleen Wiant said. “It's been two years of working hard on this, and I know sometimes legislation takes a lot longer than that. So, I know in the world of legislation that doesn't seem so long, but working on this the past few years, that has seemed like a long journey and there have just been so many people in the way that made it happen.”
Wiant said the response she has seen from college students in Ohio in favor of Collin’s Law has been really encouraging for her.
“There have been tens of thousands of students across Ohio and Ohio colleges supporting Collin’s Law,” Wiant said. “And after the horrible death of Stone Foltz at Bowling Green State University, the students of BGSU held a protest.”
Wiant also said she has worked with a multitude of people on passing Collin’s Law, including police officers, legislators and universities across Ohio. She also said Collin’s Law was developed differently from other state hazing laws due to this collaboration.
With the passing of Collin’s Law in the House, Wiant said she feels mixed emotions because she cannot bring back Collin despite the legislation.
“I really believe that this is the generation that is fed up with hazing and that they really want to change and that they want this,” Wiant said. “So I think that they want something to change around hazing, and that starts with changing the laws.”
The bill will now be sent back to the Senate for the House’s amendments to be approved. If passed there, it will be sent to the desk of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and has the potential to impact students as soon as the Fall Semester.