The families of Stone Foltz, Collin Wiant and Tyler Perino believe Collin’s Law is the first step toward making Ohio the safest state from hazing.
TOLEDO, Ohio — Just four months after a hazing incident led to the death of Bowling Green State University sophomore Stone Foltz, Governor Mike DeWine is expected to sign legislation to help prevent hazing in the state.
Collins Law was reintroduced back in March after Foltz’s death. The law is named after Collin Wiant, a freshman who died from hazing at a Greek event at Ohio University in 2018.
Rex Elliott, who represents the Wiant and Foltz families, believes it’s the start of making Ohio the safest state in the country from hazing.
“I actually believe that both the Wiant and Foltz families would both have their children if legislation like this were in place,” said Elliott.
Under the current law, the most someone in Ohio can face for hazing is 30 days in jail.
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Collins Law will increase general hazing to a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Aggravated hazing, which causes serious physical harm or death, will now be a third-degree felony.
“It’s definitely something that I think will save lives,” said Tyler Perino.
Perino counts himself lucky to be alive today to share his story of hazing while at Miami University. Now a senior at the University of Toledo, his testimony earlier this year before the Ohio legislature helped lead the new legislation to the governor’s desk.
“I truly think that this bill will have those harsher punishments,” said Perino, “but jumpstart the change in culture which is something I believe that we truly need as well.”
The bill will also require staff and students to report hazing they witness. If they don’t, they could also face criminal charges.
RELATED: No, hazing laws are not the same across the United States
“Nobody needs to be regarded as a snitch anymore,” Elliott added. “No one needs to be afraid of that. They can come forward now because they are complying with Ohio law.”
Elliot, with Cooper and Elliott also represents Tyler Perino. He says all of the families have made it their mission to eliminate hazing for good.
The new law will also make universities across Ohio adopt strict new anti-hazing policies and education.
“Foltz and Wiant families have pushed very hard for universities around the state to implement these policies and procedures now, before the fall of ’21 begins,” said Elliot.
The Foltz family is working with the Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC) to create the new anti-hazing standards. Elliott says they plan to announce them in the next month.
Once Gov. DeWine signs the bill, it will go into effect in 90 days.