Ohio University expels fraternity after death of pledge

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ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) - UPDATE: 4/30/2019 8:00 PM

Ohio University has expelled a fraternity after accusations of hazing and other student code of conduct violations.

Sigma Pi was expelled from campus by the university administration.

According to the university, school officials received notice of the death of first-year student Collin Wiant in an off-campus residence in November 2018.

A toxicology report shows that Wiant died of asphyxiation due to nitrous oxide ingestion. At the time of his death, Wiant was a pledge of the Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Pi at Ohio University

The university said it later learned the home was an unofficial annex of the Sigma Pi fraternity (Epsilon Chapter).

During the ensuing investigation, the university said it received reports of hazing activity by members of the fraternity. The fraternity was subsequently charged with eleven violations of the student code of conduct.

Hazing charges included endangerment, brutality, coerced consumption, mental stress and coerced activities. The fraternity was also accused of damage to property, alcoholic beverage violations and harmful behavior.

It was found in violation on 10 of the 11 charges.

The university said the decision to expel the fraternity is effective immediately and final.

A lawsuit was filed against the fraternity and its international headquarters in February.


The family of an Ohio University student who died after pledging with the Sigma Pi Fraternity is accusing the fraternity of extensive physical and mental hazing.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Athens County Court says Ohio University student Collin Wiant was beaten with a belt, pelted with eggs, deprived of sleep and forced to take drugs and drink a gallon of alcohol in an hour.

The suit, seeking at least $25,000, names both the local chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity and the fraternity's Lebanon, Tennessee-based national office.

The lawsuit says the 18-year-old freshman from Dublin died Nov. 12, 2018, of asphyxiation due to ingestion of nitrous oxide provided to and forced on Wiant by fraternity members.

Jonathan Frost, Sigma Pi's executive director, declined to comment on the complaint.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

UPDATE: 11/14/18 2:20 P.M.

An Ohio University fraternity has been told to halt all “organizational activities” following the death of a recent pledge at an off-campus apartment.

Colin Wiant, 19, of Dublin, Ohio, died at a hospital early Monday morning after medical personnel found him unresponsive in an apartment at 45 Mill Street. That prompted an investigation by the Athens Police Department.

On Tuesday, the university said in a statement that out of “an abundance of caution” the Epsilon chapter of the Sigma Pi fraternity had been directed to “cease and desist all organizational activities” while police continue to investigate Wiant’s death.

The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility said it has has received information alleging that the fraternity "has engaged in conduct that puts the health and safety of your members at risk and is not in compliance with the behavioral expectations" listed in the school's student code of conduct.

The university’s statement said the off-campus apartment where Wiant was found unresponsive is “allegedly an unofficial annex” of the Sigma Pi chapter.

According to the university’s statement, school officials have been in contact with Wiant’s family and continue “to provide support to students and employees affected by this tragic loss.”


Authorities in Athens are investigating the death of an 18-year-old man from Dublin, Ohio.

Colin Wiant died Monday morning at a local hospital, the Athens Police Department said in a news release.

Police said first responders found Wiant unresponsive after getting a call to a resident at 45 Mill Street shortly before 3 a.m. on Monday.

Investigators haven't released details about how he died, but they said there's no present danger to the public.

Police said the investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released at the appropriate time and in coordination with the local coroner.

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