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Hazing rules a start but more is needed

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.

“Collin’s Law” went into effect last week 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 stronger anti-hazing policies at Ohio colleges and universities.

This week, Youngstown State University announced implementation of several new rules and initiatives here in response to the new law.

The YSU Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct has developed a new sanctioning direction for hazing cases that includes sanctions for individuals and organizations based on the nature of the hazing incident.

Additionally, YSU will develop a new website to communicate any hazing incidents on campus in a five-year period.

Under the guidelines, all members of the YSU community are now required to report any suspected incidents of hazing using a form that will be made available online.

Really? Shouldn’t that already go without saying?

Additionally, all YSU students, advisers, faculty, staff and volunteers are now required to complete a new 20-minute “Recognize and Prevent Hazing” training module before they will be permitted to participate in or advise any student organization or university program.

Much like Collin’s law, this is a start.

Sadly, though, it probably will take another scenario of someone getting severely injured or killed for even stricter punishments to be adopted.

Hazing is a barbaric act that serves no beneficial purpose in Greek pledging or anywhere in campus life.

We are glad to see Ohio and local university officials acting to make it a thing of the past. 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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