As part of The Ohio State University’s commitment to promoting a safe and healthy campus environment, members of the university community have the right to be free from all forms of hazing, which impede the realization of the university’s vision of being a 21st-century public, land grant, research, urban, and community-engaged institution. The university has zero tolerance for hazing in any form and all members of the university community must conduct themselves in a manner that supports an environment free from hazing.
What is Collin’s Law?
Collin’s Law is Ohio’s anti-hazing act. It made several changes to Ohio law. Collin’s law:
- Expands the definition of hazing and specifies that hazing may include “coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse."
- Increases the penalty for hazing to a 2nd-degree misdemeanor.
- Expands the list of officials required to report hazing.
- Widens the scope of those who can be punished for participating in or permitting hazing. (A violation that results in serious harm is a 3rd-degree felony.)
- Requires that those aware of hazing report it to authorities, with penalties up to a 1st-degree misdemeanor for failing to do so.
- Requires the Ohio Department of Higher Education to implement a statewide anti-hazing plan.
- “Requires staff and volunteers at colleges and universities to undergo training on hazing awareness and prevention.” See, Governor DeWine Signs Collin’s Law
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.
The Code of Student Conduct further defines hazing:
Section 3335-23-04 (L) of the Code of Student Conduct prohibits hazing, which is defined as:
Doing, requiring or encouraging any act, whether or not the act is voluntarily agreed upon, in conjunction with initiation, continued membership, or participation in any group, that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm or humiliation. Such acts may include, but are not limited to, use of alcohol, creation of excessive fatigue, and paddling, punching or kicking in any form. Failure to intervene, prevent, or report acts of hazing may constitute a violation of this section.
What are the reporting obligations for hazing?
Hazing presents a serious risk to the health and safety of our university community and will not be tolerated at Ohio State. To create a community free of hazing, we must first report hazing when we experience it, see it or suspect it. It is imperative that everyone with knowledge of hazing reports it. Ohio State students and registered student organizations are required to report hazing as the failure to prevent, intervene or report acts of hazing may also be considered acts of hazing.
You may have additional reporting obligations under Ohio law.? Specifically, Collin's Law: The Ohio Anti-Hazing Act Sec. 2903.311 (B) states:
No administrator, employee, faculty member, teacher, consultant, alumnus, or volunteer of any organization, including any primary, secondary, or post-secondary school or any other public or private educational institution, who is acting in an official and professional capacity shall recklessly fail to immediately report the knowledge of hazing to a law enforcement agency in the county in which the victim of hazing resides or in which the hazing is occurring or has occurred.
If you are a university employee and have questions about your reporting obligations under Ohio law, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs at 614-292-0611. If you are a student and have questions about your reporting obligations under Ohio law, please contact Student Legal Services at 614-247-5853.
How do I report hazing?
Go to https://go.osu.edu/reporthazing for information and instructions on how to report hazing to the university and to law enforcement.
If anyone is experiencing harm or is in imminent danger, please call 9-1-1. For on-campus reports, call OSUPD at 614-292-2121. To report off-campus behavior call Columbus police at 614-645-4545
What happens when I report to Student Conduct?
Student Conduct reviews all reports and will share hazing reports with law enforcement – note: this does not relieve individuals of their obligation to report hazing to law enforcement under Ohio law.
A Student Conduct case manager may ask the reporter for an interview. The case manager can explain whether and how they would share personally identifying information about the reporter, victims or witnesses. Often, Student Conduct can keep those names private during the investigation.
The Code of Student Conduct provides the procedures for the investigation, charges, hearings, sanctions and appeals.
Is there an amnesty/safe harbor policy?
Yes, in certain circumstances the Code of Student Conduct’s amnesty provision may apply. That provision states:
At the university’s discretion, amnesty may be extended to students who may be hesitant to report a violation of the code to university officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, including but not limited to underage drinking, at the time of the incident. If a student is granted amnesty, an educational discussion or other informal resolution may be considered, but no university conduct proceedings under this code will result.
At the university’s discretion, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis for minor policy violations when students request assistance for others in need, including the person receiving assistance. If a student is granted amnesty, an educational discussion or other informal resolution may be considered, but no university conduct proceedings under this code will result. In cases of academic misconduct, need does not include the inability of a student to complete an assignment without assistance. (“3335-23-06 Amnesty - 3335-23-06 | The Ohio State University”)
What sanctions may result from a hazing violation?
Hazing is a serious offense and Ohio State has zero tolerance for hazing. Therefore, violations of this policy are subject to the full range of sanctions (formal reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, and dismissal). Educational activities may also be sanctioned.
Dismissal or a recommendation to the Board of Trustees to revoke a conferred degree will be the minimum conduct sanction assigned to a student for any violation of this policy that causes death, serious physical harm, or substantial risk of serious physical harm. This includes coerced consumption of alcohol or drugs of abuse that causes death, serious physical harm, or substantial risk of serious physical harm. A registered student organization found in violation under the same circumstances will have their registration revoked.
Where can I find information on what groups have been found in violation for hazing?
Collin’s Law requires universities to report hazing violations for the last five years starting in the 2022-2023 academic year. However, Ohio State already shares information on Student Conduct proceedings for registered student organizations. You will find information about Sorority and Fraternity Life’s chapters here and for other registered student organizations whose registrations were revoked here. Note this list contains records not just for hazing, but for any violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
What are the Inter-University Council of Presidents Anti-Hazing Principles?
The Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC) was established in 1939 as a voluntary educational association of Ohio’s public universities. The IUC represents the 14 public universities of Ohio. The Inter-University Council of Presidents adopted Anti-Hazing Principles towards the shared purpose of eradicating hazing at Ohio universities. These principles, including a zero-tolerance for hazing approach, were inspired by the promise made to Stone Foltz by his parents as he lay in the hospital bed - a promise that they would do everything needed to prevent another human from being hazed and to forever make sure Stone and no other individual is left behind due to horrendous acts of hazing.
Are students required to attend anti-hazing training before joining a student organization?
Collin’s Law states that each institution shall prohibit a student who does not attend the anti-hazing program from participating in an organization recognized by or operating under the sanction of the institution until the student attends the program. An organization shall not accept or initiate any person who has not attended the program.
What kind of activities might be considered hazing?
- forced cleaning
- running errands/menial tasks
- forced interviews
- scavenger hunts
- mental and/or psychological abuse
- public or private displays of humiliation
- forced use of alcohol or drugs
- providing alcohol to minors
- use of alcohol or drugs during the new member education/intake process or other membership events
- forced eating or drinking of items
- being yelled at or cursed at by other members of the team or group
- sleep deprivation
- public nudity
- forced wearing of embarrassing clothing
- depriving you of regular hygiene practices (brushing teeth, bathing)
- making you steal or destroy property
- "drop-offs" or "dumps" in unfamiliar locations
- lockups or being confined to small spaces
- being duct-taped or some other physical restraints
- sexual assault
- creation of excessive fatigue
- any activity which seriously endangers the health or safety of another individual.
To help you identify whether something is hazing or not, ask yourself the following questions:
- Would active, current members of the group, refuse to take part in this activity with the new members and do the same activity?
- Does the activity risk emotional or physical harm/abuse?
- Would I object to this activity being photographed for the school newspaper or filmed by the local TV news crew?
- Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents, professor, coach or university official were watching?
- Would we get in trouble if the Director of Student Conduct walked by?
- Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
- Am I doing anything illegal?
- Does participation violate my values or those of my organization?
- Is this activity causing emotional distress or stress of any kind to myself or others?
- If someone were injured, would I feel comfortable being investigated by the police or insurance carrier?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, the activity is probably hazing. (Adapted from www.stophazing.org and University of Florida)
Collin's Law Student and Advisor Training Sessions -- Spring 2022