COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Collin’s Law, Ohio’s anti-hazing law, is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The bill passed the Ohio Senate Wednesday and is a milestone that one local mom has been waiting for.
Kathleen Wiant is Collin’s mom, the young man the law is named after.
Wiant said all of her emotions bubbled up the moment the bill passed the Senate unanimously, especially since the bill didn’t make it last session, which she says was heartbreaking.
Putting a stop to hazing across Ohio has been Wiant’s goal the past two years.
“I was just heartbroken when the last General Assembly, we didn’t have time to get it done, but back then, I said this is not a matter of if but when, because I just knew as long as I’m alive, I was going to keep working on this,” she said.
Her son was a freshman Ohio University when he died following a hazing incident. His name is on the bill that would change the penalties for hazing statewide.
The goal is also to change campus culture with required education for organizations.
“Each institution will maintain a report of the cases of confirmed hazing on their campuses and universities will now have a website where parents and students can access this information so they can make an educated informed decision on what organization to join or now,” said Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-District 16), speaking about the bill before passage.
The most recent death in Ohio attributed to alleged hazing is Stone Foltz. He attended Bowling Green State University.
Wiant wishes the bill could have moved faster and is urging the House to act now and pass it.
“Our hope is that we can get this to the governor’s desk by the end of June,” she said. “We are relentless about that goal because if we can accomplish that, it will be in place this fall when students go off to school and that’s what needs to happen. Ohio cannot have another hazing death.”
The bill will need to clear the House with no changes, at which point, it will head to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.
Wiant said once it’s signed, the fight is not over. She’ll continue to speak to students at universities about hazing and lobby at the Capitol in Washington D.C. for federal anti-hazing reform.