The following message was shared with all Ohio State students, faculty and staff on Friday, September 24, 2021.
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Early this morning, another senseless act of violence occurred in the near off-campus area. Thankfully, no one was injured. There have been too many close calls and far too many victims.
Since the tragic shooting death of Ohio State student Chase Meola last year, the university has invested more than $1 million in safety measures and resources. It is not enough. We must do more. That is why, today, I have directed the university to invest an additional $2 million a year over the next decade to enhance safety and security on and around our campus, for a total of at least $20 million.
This additional funding begins immediately and will be dedicated to the following enhancements:
- Immediately expanding by an order of magnitude our off-campus security, including by using additional private security, as well as continuing to support the Community Crime Patrol. This increased security will include additional campus service officers, who will immediately expand their patrols into the University District.
- Adding additional mobile lighting and at least another 10 mobile camera systems to saturate the area where our students live.
- Extending, effective immediately, our Lyft Ride Smart program on High Street to include getting students to and from the Short North area.
- Recruiting and training new Ohio State University Police Division officers. Four new officers were recently sworn in as we work toward our safety task force goal of increasing our joint patrol coverage off campus. The hiring of additional officers will continue.
- Engaging an external safety expert to examine the effectiveness of our expanded approach to off-campus safety in partnership with the city of Columbus.
I discussed this issue publicly today with Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Commander Dennis Jeffrey of the Columbus Division of Police. The city is an essential partner in this effort, and the mayor and his team are committed to working in close collaboration with the university until this problem is solved.
“These incidents of violence have become all too familiar, but they remain just as tragic, devastating, infuriating and unacceptable as ever,” Mayor Ginther said. “Safety in all of our neighborhoods is my top priority. We will continue working closely with our partners at Ohio State around the clock to help prevent crime and hold those who commit crimes accountable.”
Safety is a community issue that requires a holistic approach. The mayor and I, along with our Ohio State public safety team, understand that this problem cannot be solved without engaging multiple partners in different areas of expertise. As an academic and research institution, we continue to involve partners from across the university, including our College of Social Work, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, and others.
This is also why, yesterday, we announced, with Mayor Ginther, Columbus City Schools Superintendent and CEO Talisa Dixon and Columbus State Community College President David T. Harrison, the STEAMM Rising Columbus program. This collaboration is dedicated to growing the next generation of teachers and students focused on innovation — and giving young people in our community multiple opportunities in science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics and medicine. We believe that this holistic approach is needed in order to address this problem and give those in our communities opportunities to live rewarding, productive lives.
There is nothing I take more seriously than student safety. Our students are my number one priority today and always. We will not rest until this is solved.
Kristina M. Johnson, PhD