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It’s time to stop hazing rituals

Collin Wiant was an Ohio University freshman who was pledging Sigma Pi in 2018. Hazing activities and other decisions made by fraternity members killed him. It took the loss of another life — Stone Foltz, who was a Bowling Green State University sophomore pledging Pi Kappa Alpha this year — for lawmakers to get their acts together and pass harsher punishments for hazing.

On Thursday, “Collin’s Law” went into effect in Ohio. It makes general hazing a second-degree misdemeanor, while aggravated hazing — causing physical harm and death — becomes a third-degree felony. It’s a good start, but some believe there is more that could be done.

Foltz’s family wants Ohio colleges and universities to adopt zero-tolerance policies against hazing.

“Sadly, I think it’s going to take almost take another scenario to happen. And then those even more strict punishments be given to those kids or group of kids, to kind of make people say, ‘oh wait, they’re not joking around,'” said Tyler Perino, a senior at the University of Toledo, who was speaking with WTOL-TV. His testimony to lawmakers after surviving a hazing incident at Miami University may have helped solidify support for Collin’s Law.

Hazing is an absurd and outdated ritual, a symptom of deeply flawed socio-cultural values that should have been thrown out decades ago. And it can be deadly. We hope Collin’s Law will make a difference in ridding campuses of that senseless and dangerous behavior.

But of equal importance will be the influence of parents, peers and older members of fraternities and sororities who make clear that hazing won’t be tolerated.

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