COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the investigation into what happened to student Stone Foltz at Bowling Green State University continues, a central Ohio family is continuing their push for anti-hazing legislation.
Collin Wiant’s family knows all too well the devastating effects hazing can have.
Collin died in a hazing incident in 2018 while a pledge at the Sigma Pi fraternity at Ohio University, and now his parents are pushing for Ohio lawmakers to pass Collin’s Law.
Last year’s legislative session ended before Collin’s Law could be passed, but Collin’s mother said she’s hoping the bill will be introduced again this week
While the incident at Bowling Green still under investigation, she said passing Collin’s Law is even more important.
“I cannot stop thinking about Stone’s family,” said Kathleen Wiant.
When Wiant heard about what happened to Foltz, she was devasted, saying it sickens her to know situations like the one her son was involved in and the one Foltz’s family attorney said Stone was involved in are preventable.
“I can’t stop thinking of them and how they’re going through and I just don’t want another family in Ohio to have to go through that,” Wiant said Sunday before it was announced Foltz had died.
About a year and a half ago, Wiant spoke at Bowling Green, meaning current upper classmen heard her talk about hazing and Collin’s story.
A Ted X of hers about the dangers of hazing was released last month.
Collin’s Law would create harsher penalties for hazing, including making it a felony when drugs or alcohol are involved.
“It was my fear when it didn’t pass in the fall that we can introduce it in the new General Assembly, but what if by then, there’s another death in Ohio, and the fact that happened just makes me so angry,” Wiant said. “I feel like time is of the essence. We have to get this done, we have to get it done now.”
The Wiants will now be pushing even harder to get it passed.
“It makes people angry, it makes them sad and they know it’s preventable,” Wiant said. “They know things need to change, so I think this in on the forefronts of people’s minds and they don’t want another tragedy in Ohio.”
In addition to harsher penalties, Collin’s Law would come with an extremely important transparency piece. She said that every six months, organizations will have to report any student conduct violations they’ve had, allowing students and families to see those reports.
On a nationwide level, the Wiants are also working on the End All Hazing Act with other families and the North American Interfraternity Conference.
In a statement Sunday regarding the Foltz case, the fraternity conference expressed its commitment to getting both anti-hazing laws passed.
“The North American Interfraternity Conference is partnered with Kathleen Wiant whose son Collin died in 2018 at Ohio University and other parents of hazing victims to educate about hazing and advocate for stronger laws,” the statement reads. “Our efforts include advancing the END ALL Hazing Act in Congress and making hazing a felony through state legislation including Collin’s Law now before the Ohio State Legislature.”