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Breaking: DeWine Signs Collin’s Law, Enacting Stricter Penalties for Hazing

WSU Hazing Prevention Week | Photo by Marissa Couch | The Wright State Guardian

WSU Hazing Prevention Week | Photo by Marissa Couch | The Wright State Guardian

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an anti-hazing bill Tuesday that will set stricter penalties for hazing and take effect in October.

The bill, Collin’s law, will add new penalties such as a misdemeanor of the second degree or felony of the third degree. Other penalties include fines, probation, dismissal, suspension or expulsion.

If an organization violates anti-hazing rules, they may lose permission to operate at the specific university.

The story of Stone Foltz 

On March 7, a student at Bowling Green State University passed away from an alleged hazing incident.

On March 4, an off-campus fraternity chapter event occurred at BGSU involving the Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity. It is rumored that new members, or littles, were to drink a handle of alcohol provided by an older member of the group, known as a big.  

Stone Foltz was a 20-year-old business major who was found unresponsive at the event by police in his apartment after the hazing event. Foltz passed away on March 7, having been kept alive in the hospital in order to have his organs donated.  

“A full inquiry into each Greek chapter’s prevention and compliance responsibilities under university policies prohibiting hazing,” a representative of BGSU said in a public statement on March 8. 

Since the incident, Phi Kappa Alpha has been suspended as a fraternity at BGSU indefinitely, and the future of Greek life at the university has been called into question. The incident remains under investigation.  

WSU’s policies on hazing 

As the BGSU incident remains under investigation, WSU continues to uphold the zero-hazing policy that is in place in accordance with federal and state laws.  

“Any individual or organization suspected of authorizing or tolerating the occurrence of a hazing incident will be subject to an investigation by either the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct and/or the appropriate University department,” the WSU Student Handbook says. “The investigation may be followed by a formal disciplinary hearing in accordance with the student conduct due process procedures outlined in the WSU Code of Student Conduct.” 

Gina Keucher, program director for sorority and fraternity life at WSU, held a virtual event for students and the families of students involved with Greek life at the university on March 21. The main goals of the program were to educate new members on this history of Greek life and the risks that come with it, including hazing.  

“A violation of hazing is a misdemeanor of the fifth degree,” Keucher said. “Except under the proposed Collin’s law, the violation shall be a felony of the fifth degree if the violation causes physical harm to the victim and there are drugs or alcohol involved.”  

Makenzie Hoeferlin