WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Editor's note: the video in the player below is from a story published on March 8, 2021.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is pushing for strict anti-hazing legislation following the death of 20-year-old Stone Foltz at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) earlier this month.
Foltz, a sophomore at BGSU, died on March 7 after an alleged hazing incident off campus for his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) on March 4.
"We have to do more as a society to stop these student deaths, parents shouldn't have to worry about their child entering a fraternity or sorority," said Sen. Brown Wednesday.
According to statistics from the University of Dayton, more than half of college students involved in clubs and various organizations have experienced hazing, with alcohol consumption, isolation, and sleep-deprivation being some of the most common methods of torture.
Brown plans to reintroduce the REACH Act which is legislation previously introduced that would crack down on hazing incidents on college campuses. The bill would require schools to report hazing on annual crime reports, establish a clear definition of what hazing is, and require institutions to educate students on hazing and the dangers.
During the news conference, Sen. Brown called the REACH Act a bipartisan effort, saying that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), have both co-signed onto the bill.
Also featured was Kathleen Wiant, a mother who lost her son Collin Wiant, in a 2018 hazing incident at Ohio University. Wiant said, "it is critical to change the laws around hazing," citing the fact that up until several years ago, hazing was only considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor in Ohio, "equivalent of not paying a parking ticket," Wiant stated.
On March 11, a bill was presented in the Ohio Senate that would aim to eradicate hazing in the Buckeye State. Senate Bill 126 focuses on hazing and providing both resources and education to make sure it doesn't happen. The bill would also make hazing a felony in Ohio, rather than a misdemeanor, which it is currently categorized as.
"No parent should have to face what Stone Foltz's parents are facing, or what Ms. Wiant's has faced," said Sen. Brown.
Sen. Brown did not outline a timeline for the REACH Act moving forward.
Editor's note: the video in the player below is from a story published on March 9, 2021.