Blog : Ohio

Ohio University Expels Sigma Pi Chapter after Collin Wiant’s Death

45 Mill Street -- student diedOhio University announced Tuesday that the local chapter of the Sigma Pi fraternity is now permanently “expelled” from campus, for multiple policy violations regarding hazing and alcohol use. This comes after the university’s investigation into Sigma Pi after the death of Collin Wiant.

The fraternity was found, through a preponderance of evidence standard, to have violated 10 different statutes in the Student Code of Conduct that included: Hazing, Alcohol Violations, Controlled Substance/Drug Violation, and Harmful Behavior.

The fraternity chapter appealed the results of the hearing to a university appeal hearing board, as well as to the VP for Student Affairs…but the appeal was denied. #stophazing

Read the redacted Sigma Pi outcome letter Here.

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Ohio Student Died at Sigma Pi Fraternity 6 Months Before UB Freshman

When are fraternities going to take the lead and implement steps required to make their operations and chapters safe?

Sadly, Sebastian Serafin-Bazan’s death is not the first incident where a student has died or faced harm at a Sigma Pi fraternity in the past six months.

This past November, freshman Collin Wiant died at Ohio University’s Sigma Pi house after ingesting nitrous oxide – a couple of weeks prior to Wiant’s death, the Sigma Pi chapter at the University of Colorado, Boulder ceased operations after young women claimed they were drugged at the house.

Read the Full Article Here.

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Cal Poly Sigma Pi Chapter Suspended Over Hazing Accusations

Last year’s tragic death of Collin Wiant, a pledge at the Sigma Pi fraternity at Ohio University, should have opened up Sigma Pi’s eyes to change its policies and practices……yet their ongoing incidents and misconduct continue across the U.S. 

The Sigma Pi fraternity has been suspended until June 15, 2019 and placed on social probation until Spring 2020 for violation of health and safety code, violation of alcohol use, violations of law, and violation of hazing and conspiracy to haze. The suspension is effective immediately, as of Monday, Jan. 14, according to Cal Poly Fraternity & Sorority Life.

Sigma Pi was investigated after the university received reports that the fraternity was involved in hazing recruits in Fall 2018. The hazing included humiliation of pledges, causing mental and emotional distress, according to University Spokesperson Matt Lazier. It is unknown how many reports of hazing the university received.

The fraternity was also found in violation of providing alcohol to pledges and minors during the recruitment and pledging process.

The university asked the Sigma Pi national chapter to review the chapter’s membership and the chapter’s executive board is required to complete an educational training, according to Lazier.

The fraternity received a notice of suspension Monday and was banned from Winter 2019 rush events, starting today.

The chapter has not commented on the sanctions at this time. Mustang News has reached out to the Cal Poly Interfraternity Council and Sigma Pi national headquarters, but have not received a response from either.

Sigma Pi is known on campus for their annual Suicide and Mental Health Awareness Week and for notable alumni, such as iCracked Founder AJ Forsythe. The chapter has 91 brothers as of 2018, according to their website.

This is the second fraternity found in violation of hazing this school year.

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Miami University of Ohio Changes Their Fraternity Guidelines

Miami University of Ohio fraternity and sorority members recently received a message addressing changes and recommendations that will be implemented in their community over the next year. These changes are meant to set a new standard for fraternities – one that focuses on brotherhood, leadership, and accountability.

It is no secret that in the last several years, their fraternity community has come under scrutiny for unhealthy decision making – some of which led to suspensions of organizations. In October 2016, attorney Doug Fierberg presented at the Miami OH campus: Campus Sexual Violence: Student Rights, University Responsibilities and Legal Liability in the Hunting Ground confronting these issues.

We here at School Violence Law and The Fierberg National Law Group are happy to see flagged issues being undertaken with mature management.

Below is the text from the email that Greek students received.

Dear Members of the Miami University Fraternity & Sorority Community:

Miami has long been a leader in the fraternal movement. We have consistently talked about creating a “model Greek community” at Miami – one where students live their values, bring out the best in each other, hold one another accountable, and are role models on campus and across the country.

As we look to the future, we also must look at our past. There is no denying the fact that systemic issues in our community have led to concerning health and safety risks to students – in particular to the newest members of our Interfraternity Council community.

Over the course of the next year, you will see specific changes to fraternity life here at Miami. These changes were developed by a diverse team of committed fraternity stakeholders – students, chapter advisors, alumni, headquarters partners, housing corporation board officers, and staff. The committee evaluated data, reports, and other university standards to determine what would help promote safety and advance the fraternal experience at Miami. It was not an easy task, and the challenges posed to the committee were great, however, we firmly believe these changes will strengthen principles and limit risk among our fraternity chapters.

A few major changes that you will see include:

*             In spring semester 2019 and going forward, fraternity new members will need to complete online training courses on leadership and accountability.

*             The new member period will be changed to four weeks rather than eight.

*             In the recruitment period of spring 2020, all new members will be required to have a GPA of at least 2.75 (up from 2.5) to join a fraternity.

*             Live-in house directors will be required for fraternities to receive the second year exemption.

While we know that policies alone cannot change a culture, the changes are expected to:

*             Foster a culture that develops and rewards student leadership through participation in a fraternity.

*             Focus on academic excellence and student success.

*             Address the nationwide challenges of hazing, high-risk alcohol, and drug use while holding students and chapters accountable for standards.

Please know we are invested in navigating these changes and working together to create a sustainable community that upholds the Love & Honor of Miami. Communication and transparency will be consistent and necessary as we move forward.

Thank you for your dedication and investment in making your community one we can all be proud of.

The Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life 

Read More Here

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Ohio University fraternity, Sigma Pi, under investigation after death of Collin Wiant

Eighteen-year-old Collin Wiant died Monday morning after someone called police reporting him unresponsive.

This was the call to 911 early Monday morning:

“We’re at (redacted) Mill Street, and one of my friends, he’s pretty unresp- like, I think he drank a little too much tonight.”
“Ok, is he responsive?”
“Um, he was, and then he kind of laid back, started passing out.”
“Ok, is he still breathing?”
“Yes.”
“Ok, I’ll send them down that way. Is there an apartment number?”
“It’s (redacted) Mill Street. We’ll carry him out. He’s pretty in and out, so like…”
“Well let’s not carry him out yet because it’s really cold outside and the squad takes a little bit. So let’s leave him there and I’ll send an officer down and the squad is heading that way too.”

Wiant was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Wiant of Dublin, Ohio, was a recent pledge of the Epsilon chapter of the international social collegiate fraternity Sigma Pi, Ohio University.

The university has issued an administrative directive to the fraternity demanding all organizational activities be stopped.

See the story here: 10TV News Story 

The entire staff at School Violence Law and Fierberg National Law Group extend our sincere condolences to the family of Collin Wiant.

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Client v. SMF High School, et al.

Represented a freshman high school student who was hazed by older, stronger wrestlers in the school’s locker room.  On numerous occasions the Client was forcibly held down and prodded on the rectum with a broomstick the perpetrators named “Pedro.”  These incidents prompted students to humiliate the plaintiff in the school hallways with taunts that he “liked it up the butt,” or that he was gay.  ABC 20/20 featured this incident in a report on the increase in violent hazing in high schools.  The family accepted a substantial confidential settlement from the individual perpetrators and the school, and obtained concessions from the school revising its codes of conduct to prevent future hazing of students.

The following are documents of the court proceedings of the Client v. SMF High School, et al. : Pleading 1 and Pleading 2 . Media coverage of this case can be read here courtesy of Tampabay.com and here courtesy of Stow Sentry

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