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In-Depth: Renewed push for anti-hazing legislation

BGSU student dies over weekend in alleged hazing
Bowling Green State University
Posted at 4:02 PM, Mar 08, 2021

CLEVELAND — An investigation continues at Bowling Green State University after an alleged hazing incident resulted in the death of a student over the weekend.

Stone Foltz, a BGSU student, was hospitalized Thursday after "alleged hazing activity involving alcohol consumption" at an off-campus Pi Kappa Alpha event. He was in critical condition at the ProMedica Toledo Hospital for three days, according to ABC News. The school handed down an interim suspension to the fraternity after the incident.

The incident is just the latest in a string of alleged campus hazing incidents in Ohio.

Former State Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) spent years trying to push an anti-hazing bill through the Ohio legislature, coming up short at the end of the 2020 session.

“This is an important issue we must tackle,” he said. “Right now in Ohio, the definition of hazing is a low-level misdemeanor. Anything related to that organization and you being a part of it should be free from physical or emotional harm. End of story.”

The bill, named “Collin’s Law,” honors Collin Wiant, a freshman at Ohio University who died in 2018.

A lawsuit filed in connection with the Wiant’s death said Collin was “pelted with eggs, hit with a belt, and repeatedly punched” by members of Sigma Pi, a fraternity Wiant was pledging.

The lawsuit also claimed the fraternity forced Wiant to take drugs and drink alcohol.

If the bill had been signed back in December, it would have been in effect during this latest alleged hazing incident.

“Every day that goes by is one day too long,” Greenspan said.

Greenspan told News 5 he’s already working with old colleagues still at the statehouse, including Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) to help finally push this bill through.

If it passes, Collin’s Law would raise the penalties for hazing charges including from a misdemeanor up to a third-degree felony which could mean more than a year in prison.

“Ensure that nobody goes through what this student at Bowling Green or Collin Wiant or the other thousand incidents of unreported hazing," Greenspan said. “There’s no reason for this to occur.”

Incidents at college fraternities at Ohio universities have made headlines in the past, including Miami University after a student going through fraternity initiation claimed he was paddled until he was severely cut and bruised.

Eighteen students there were charged with hazing, with nine of them pleading guilty.

The fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, was suspended at Miami University for 15 years.

Ohio State suspended all of its 37 fraternities in November 2017, citing a high number of fraternities under investigation for conduct violations. Ohio State called the move a proactive step, saying it had been investigating 11 of those fraternities since the school year started. Most of the 37 fraternities were cleared to resume normal activities within a few months.

The Delta Tau Delta fraternity at Kent State was also suspended in 2019 after a review of the chapter's internal operations. The specifics were never made public, but the university made the fraternity stop all activities as it investigated claims of disruptive conduct and it came just months after the city of Kent cited the fraternity for violating an ordinance.