Collin’s Law (Senate Bill 126), signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on July 6, 2021, makes hazing a felony (Ohio Revised Code, Section 2903.31). The law is referred to as Collin’s Law in honor of Collin Wiant, an 18-year-old college student who lost his life in 2018 due to a hazing incident.
Collin’s Law provides for a combination of increased criminal penalties, comprehensive reporting requirements and education and training expectations that are among the most comprehensive in the country. It is affirmed that hazing is not condoned at Stark State College in any form, hazing is a violation of state law, the Student Code of Conduct and the Policies and Procedures of Stark State College.
Stark State College is committed to promoting a safe and healthy campus environment. Acts of hazing have occurred at campuses across the United States for far too long, leaving physical, psychological and emotional scars that seldom heal quickly. It is important that everyone affiliated with colleges and universities in our state take steps that are necessary to bring an end to hazing. Members of the Stark State College community have the right to be free from all forms of hazing and members of the SSC community must conduct themselves in a manner that supports an environment free from hazing.
Stark State publicly affirms that hazing is prohibited at the College.
What is hazing?
The Ohio Revised Code, Section 2903.31 defines hazing as “doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization or any act to continue or reinstate membership in or affiliation with any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person, including coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse, as defined in section 3719.011 of the Revised Code.”
To whom do hazing laws apply?
Collin’s Law applies to incidents of hazing that takes place between two or more people who are affiliated with the college, regardless if the incident(s) occurs on or off campus. This includes students, student organizations, student groups and employees. This also includes volunteers acting in an official capacity that advise or coach student organizations and/or groups who have direct contact with students.
What does Collin’s Law prohibit?
Stark State College strictly prohibits hazing in any form as prescribed in Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.31. Prohibited acts include pressuring, causing, forcing, soliciting or coercing any person to do any of the following for the purpose of initiative, admitting or affiliating an individual into or with a student group or student organization; continuing or enhancing an individual’s membership or status in a student group or student organization; or perpetuating or furthering a tradition or ritual of a student group or student organization:
Engaging in any conduct prohibited by federal and/or state and/or municipal criminal law, regardless of whether an arrest is made or criminal charges are brought;
Taking into their body any food, liquid (including alcohol), drug, or other substance that subjects the person to a substantial risk of mental or physical harm; and/or
Causing or creating a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to another and/or engaging in any act or omission that contributes to the death of another.
Where and how to report hazing incidents?
Reports of hazing incidents can be made through the student referral/person of concern form found here. Reports can also be made with Campus Security, the Stark State College judicial officer, and/or local law enforcement. In addition, employees also have a duty to report violations of hazing should they receive a complaint of hazing or if they observe or learn of conduct that is reasonably believed to be hazing.
Employees with a duty to report hazing incidents or suspected hazing incidents include faculty, administrators and staff. Student employees also have a duty to report violations of hazing or suspected hazing of which they become aware in the course of their duties when these duties include responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of the other members of the campus community or if they have supervisory, evaluative, grading or advisory responsibility over the members of the campus community. In addition to the duty to report hazing, in some circumstances there is also a duty to report allegations of criminal conduct to law enforcement. Non-mandatory reporters may report anonymously online through the student referral/person of concern link found here.
Who investigates hazing incidents?
Reports of hazing shall be investigated by the Campus Security Department and, when appropriate, the investigation shall be in coordination with other college offices, departments and law enforcement. Every effort will be made to complete the investigation in a timely manner. The hazing allegation will be investigated and resolved in keeping with the Student Code of Conduct process.
What are the potential sanctions for violating hazing laws and Stark State College Anti-Hazing Policy?
Hazing is a crime in the State of Ohio under section 2903.31 of the Ohio Revised Code that can either be classified as a second-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony. In addition to possible criminal charges by law enforcement, Stark State College sanctions can include charges against an individual or a group with a violation of hazing via the Student Code of Conduct and/or other college rules, regulations or policies. Sanctions applied to organizations and/or individuals will be imposed in accordance with the severity of the violation and will be determined by the judicial officer.
Stark State hazing reporting requirements
Stark State College is required to post an annual report on its publicly accessible website that includes at least five years of hazing reporting statistics. The initial report is due on Jan. 15, 2023, and a report of hazing incidents is to be published on Aug. 1 and Jan. 1 of every year thereafter.
NOTE: 2022 statistics are current through Aug. 1, 2022
Additional hazing resources
Cornell Health has provided examples of different anti-hazing awareness campaigns.
The Gordie Center has provided a number of awareness campaign tools, including hazing-specific bystander intervention and prevention digital assets.
StopHazing’s website provides posters and digital tools that can be downloaded and customized by institutions.
Ohio Department of Higher Education
Under the “Creating an Awareness Campaign” tab, users can find access to templates to assist a campus in developing an awareness campaign. Templates include a “creative brief” and a “Quick Reference Guide.” Both tools can help users identify the key components of an awareness campaign and provide guidance on different tactics to get your message out.
Hazing Prevention provides access to team building and remote team-building activities, videos and more.
StopHazing’s resource link provides access to a prevention action guide, healthy team building activities, webinars and more.
Cornell Health has developed a series of videos on bystander intervention, including one related to hazing at time stamp 4:30. Facilitation guides can be requested from Cornell Health through the link above.
Louisiana State University
Website includes links to a PowerPoint and facilitation guide for a prevention and intervention program.
National hazing resources and mailing lists
The Gordie Center
A University of Virginia organization with a mission to end hazing and substance misuse among college and high school students nationwide.
A national nonprofit dedicated to empowering people to prevent hazing with the goal to educate people about the dangers of hazing, advocate for change and engage the community in strategies to prevent hazing.
Proving methods of prevention and intervention in hazing and explaining the psychology of hazing in high school, college, the military and the workplace.
A mission to promote safe and inclusive school, campus and organizational environments through research, resource sharing and the development of data-driven strategies for hazing prevention and the promotion of positive group climates.
The Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform
A Penn State-based organization that establishes new insights into understanding the complex issues facing fraternity and sorority life and empowers higher education to help create a fraternity and sorority experience that is safer and more meaningful. The center produces actionable data to give practitioners, campuses and headquarters the evidence needed to enact significant change on their campuses for the over 750,000 members across more than 770 campuses with fraternity and sorority life.