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Ohio University Expels Fraternity Over Hazing Death

Ohio University administrators have permanently expelled the school’s Epsilon chapter of Sigma Pi after a student died while pledging the fraternity in 2018.

Jenny Hall-Jones, OU’s dean of students and senior associate vice president, sent a letter to the fraternity on April 12 after months of investigation into its actions following the death of 18-year-old Collin Wiant due to severe hazing.

The letter cited 11 violations of the school’s student code of conduct, including hazing, damage to property, serving alcohol, unlawful use or possession of controlled substances or drugs, allowing underage students to drink alcohol and physical harm, according to cleveland.com.

Fraternity members approached Jason Pina, vice president for Student Affairs, to appeal the decision based on the grounds that the sanctions were “disproportionate” to the violation. However, Pina upheld the sanctions as well.

In February, Wiant’s family sued the fraternity and ten other unnamed members for forcing Wiant to ingest nitrous oxide at 45 Mill Street on November 12, 2018, which led to his death. A toxicology report also found him positive for alcohol and THC in his blood at the time of his passing.

“Collin Wiant died inside the Epsilon Chapter annex house shortly after the 911 call was made,” the lawsuit alleges. “His body was found surrounded by drug paraphernalia, including canisters of nitrous oxide.”

The wrong death suit claims that from September to November of 2018, pledges were subjected to multiple forms of hazing including excessive alcohol consumption, being beaten with belts, and sleep deprivation, among others.

In its court filings in March, the fraternity denied responsibility, saying that Wiant was no longer a pledge at the time of his death, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The filings state that Wiant was removed from the fraternity in October 2018 after learning that police were investigating him for sexually harassing a female student.

Last month, the Sigma Pi fraternity was involved in another hazing incident at the University at Buffalo where Sebastian Serafin-Bazan, an 18-year-old freshman, died six days after being hospitalized as a result of violent physical hazing.

University officials responded by temporarily suspending all Greek organizations on campus pending an investigation and internal review into their activities.

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