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Kathleen and Wade Wiant, parents of Collin Wiant, pose for a portrait outside the courthouse in Athens, Ohio, on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

‘I hope we made you proud’: Anti-hazing legislation named after Collin Wiant signed into law

Collin’s Law, an anti-hazing bill named in honor of Ohio University student Collin Wiant, who died of asphyxiation at the unofficial Sigma Pi annex house in November 2018, was signed into law Tuesday by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. 

The law was unanimously passed in the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives in June and will increase hazing penalties in Ohio from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a felony. Collin’s Law also outlines numerous other provisions, including hazing education, and will require universities to keep a public record of all Code of Conduct violations of university organizations.  

“It is truly the love of family and the heart of a mother who championed this legislation why we are standing here today, and Ohioans are grateful, Kathleen, for your unwavering mission to not only change Ohio law, but to truly change a culture on our college campuses,” State Sen. Stephanie Kunze said. 

Though the bill was signed into law July 6, it will not be enforced for another 90 days. DeWine said it will take a lot of support to make it known that hazing is not tolerated on Ohio’s college campuses when the law goes into effect. 

“We have a very stringent anti-hazing policy in our university, and that affects not just the fraternities and sororities, but the athletic teams and all of the student organizations. So, we just don't tolerate hazing at Ohio University,” OU President Hugh Sherman said. 

In recent years, OU has investigated and issued cease and desist notices to numerous student organizations that it feels have broken behavioral expectations outlined in the Code of Conduct. 

Sigma Pi, the fraternity Collin Wiant was a pledge of before his death, was expelled from the university in April 2019 and was found in violation of 10 different allegations, including four counts of hazing, according to a previous Post report.

“A few days after Collin died, our family gathered around the kitchen table to write his obituary. The first thing my children said had to be in it was that Collin always stood up for the underdog. Collin was a protector by nature,” Kathleen Wiant, Collin Wiant’s mother, said. “I can think of no greater way to honor him than a law in his name designed for the sole purpose of protecting others. Collin, I know you're watching, and I hope we made you proud.” 

@mollywmarie 

mw542219@ohio.edu

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