Thirty-three higher-education institutions across the Buckeye State will get $5 million in total for safety-related enhancements, Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) announced this week.
The allocations from the state’s 2022 Campus Safety Program will largely fund equipment such as metal detectors, alarms, loudspeakers, security cameras and lock technology. Schools getting the largest amounts include the University of Akron ($422,630), Kent State University ($387,567), Terra State Community College ($338,598), Bowling Green State University ($278.075.63) and Washington State Community College ($226,345.90).
“These funds will go directly toward helping our institutions of higher education become more secure,” DeWine said in a statement. “The importance of campus safety cannot be overstated, and Ohio is committed to supporting efforts that keep our colleges and universities safe.”
Campus security has become a heightened concern in light of crime statistics worsening since 2020, both nationally and in many Ohio locales. A recent rise in criminal activity around the Ohio State University in Columbus spurred that institution to implement watch patrols around school property, place new mobile lighting near residence halls and take other new precautions.
A report the university commissioned last winter concluded that the security enhancements were largely worthwhile. Ohio State’s ongoing safety efforts will get $174,257.25 from the Campus Safety Grant Program.
Officials from the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Department of Education determined the amount each college would receive after reviewing their grant applications, which each school submitted after evaluating its security strengths and weaknesses. An equal sum of state funds was distributed under the program last year.
“Part of preparing students for future success is ensuring they feel safe on their campuses,” state Department of Education Chancellor Randy Gardner said. “Through these grants, the DeWine-Husted Administration continues to focus on helping our colleges and universities provide for the safest learning environments possible.”
The new grants for higher education come as part of a broader endeavor on DeWine’s part to fund school-security systems. His Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program began distributing $47 million to 1,183 public schools across the state in August. A similar program for nonpublic schools allotted $6 million last month.
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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Ohio Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine.