The University of Findlay trains students and faculty on how to spot and prevent hazing.
By Lauren Rex
In 2021 and 2018, two students passed away due to hazing at two separate Ohio universities. In late 2021, Collin’s law was passed, resulting in many Ohio schools participating in anti-hazing training, and The University of Findlay was no different.
Hazing, defined on Google, is “humiliating and sometimes dangerous initiation rituals, especially as imposed on college students seeking membership to a fraternity or sorority.”
Collin’s law was named after Collin Wiant, who was a freshman at Ohio University in 2018 and passed away due to hazing. The final push of passing this law was the hazing death of Stone Foltz. Foltz was a student at Bowling Green State University and in 2021 passed away from the extensive hazing. Both colleges, Ohio University and Bowling Green State University, banned the fraternities where the hazing deaths took place at after the incidents.
A release from the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine makes note of the changes established in the law. The definition of hazing was expanded to include, “coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse.” The penalty for hazing has been increased to a 2nd degree misdemeanor, as well as any act that results in serious harm can be a 3rd degree felony.
The list for who is required to report hazing has increased, as well as college staff members and volunteers must undergo hazing awareness and prevention training. Failing to report hazing to authorities can be penalized as a 1st degree misdemeanor.
The Ohio Department of Higher Education must now also implement a statewide anti-hazing plan.
After the passing of Collins law, UF administered anti-hazing training available to all students, to keep them informed about hazing, as well as how to prevent it, notice it, and be kind to new team members, friends, associates.
Brigid Griffin, the Graduate Assistant for student activities, commuter services, and leadership development, as well as the Graduate Assistant for Equity and Title IX, said that the training was available to “any individual who interacts with any student organization at any capacity.”
These individuals include, but were not limited to, students, employees, volunteers, coaches, and professors.
“Any act of coercion onto an individual, to do any type of initiation, into a student organization or other organization,” Griffin defines hazing to be.
Julianna Stratmann, a UF sophomore on the Findlay Eventing team, participated in the anti-hazing training. Stratmann has never experienced hazing on campus or on a sports team, nor does she know of anyone who has fallen victim to hazing.
“I was taught that hazing was a form of forced ritual that can result in harm and risk, usually including alcohol,” Julianna Stratmann said.
The University of Findlay had administered anti-hazing training to all their students and faculty. “Derrick says DON’T: Oilers Against Hazing” included online training and an in-person seminar.
Stratmann was aware of the hazing incident that occurred at BGSU in early 2021, making her more eager to take the anti-hazing training.
“Anyone who participated in the anti-hazing training is now more informed,” Stratmann said, “I know that hazing is bad, and now I know how to spot it and better prevent it if I can.”
Tyler Norman, a sophomore at UF, is on the soccer team and took the anti-hazing training.
Before taking the anti-hazing training, Norman believed hazing to be “if you don’t do this, then you’re out or you’re not cool,” as a type of initiation. After taking the training, he still believed this to be true, except it doesn’t have to be a specific group as in frats or teams, it can happen in friend groups.
Norman says he has never experienced any type of hazing, but he knows it can be prevalent on sports teams and at other, bigger schools.
“The soccer team here has always been welcoming, they’ve never pushed me to anything,” Norman said. “Findlay is different, it’s more of a family atmosphere.”
Griffin finds that team bonding is extremely important, as long as what is taking place is constructive and voluntary, no singling anyone out, and most of all, results in bonding.
Everything discussed in the anti-hazing training was a refresher to Norman, which he found beneficial to everyone, especially freshman. People may know what hazing is but this training can still be helpful according to Norman.
“There is no harm and no foul in relearning something, especially when it comes to hazing,” Norman said.
Since the Training, Griffin said there has been a positive change on campus.
“The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that it is a topic in conversation a lot more, which we love. It’s really important to have conversations about these more difficult topics, because it helps break the stigma around it, and people are more comfortable talking about it,” Griffin said. “When you are able to talk about it, you’re able to make people more aware of the policy and the resources they have available to them, and those reporting procedures.”
After learning more about Collins law and why it was passed, both Norman and Stratmann believe that anti-hazing training at UF was beneficial to all students.
Griffin said that there is one main way to prevent hazing: preventative education training. From learning what constitutes hazing, and how to report it, learning these skills through the UF anti-hazing training was truly beneficial to every individual on campus.