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Hazing unacceptable

Too often in the past, dangerous behavior by members of college fraternities has been shrugged off. The old “boys will be boys” excuse is trotted out.

Strange, isn’t it, how they and college administrators refer to themselves as men?

It seems that more people have decided they should be treated as such, especially when their misbehavior results in death. For decades, hazing and partying on and off campus have led thousands of young people to engage in dangerous behavior. From becoming highly intoxicated to performing risky feats and engaging in promiscuous behavior, fraternity members and those that they invited to participate in such affairs have participated in behaviors that can have serious, lifelong consequences ­ — or cause death.

Last week, the former president of the now-disbanded Sigma Pi fraternity at Ohio University pleaded guilty in Athens County Common Pleas Court to two felony crimes and two misdemeanors. He was sentenced to 31 days in jail and ordered to participate in a drug and alcohol diversion program.

The ex-president, Elijah Wahib, 22, headed the OU chapter of Sigma Pi when, in November 2018, a young man died as a result of activities at the fraternity house.

He was a freshman, Colin Wiant, 18, of Dublin, Ohio.

Wiant died of asphyxiation due to inhaling a canister of nitrous oxide. Once an investigation began, Wahib instructed other fraternity members not to discuss the tragedy with OU officials.

Prosecutors filed charges against Wahib, of Cleveland, and at least eight of the other fraternity members.

Four already have pleaded guilty.

Charges ranging from allowing hazing to trafficking in harmful intoxicants, from reckless homicide to involuntary manslaughter, were filed against the fraternity men.

Good for prosecutors in Athens County.

Let us hope law enforcement and criminal justice officials in other college towns adopt the same attitude.

Fraternity “boys” have been allowed to engage in dangerous crimes for far too long.

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