(Columbus, Ohio) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that 33 Ohio colleges and universities will receive a total of $5 million in funding for security projects that enhance student and staff safety.
“This money will go directly to helping our institutions of higher education become safer,” said Governor DeWine. “The importance of campus safety cannot be overstated, and Ohio is committed to supporting efforts that keep our colleges and universities safe.”
The scholarship awards are part of the 2022 Campus Safety Scholarship Program, funded with support from the Ohio Legislature Senate Bill 310 of the 133rd General Assembly. Ohio School Safety CenterInc., a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, has reviewed campus safety grant applications in consultation with Ohio Department of Higher Education.
The money will be used to cover expenses associated with physical security improvements such as security cameras, door locks, alarms, public address systems, and metal detectors.
“Part of preparing students for future success is ensuring they feel safe on their campuses,” said Randy Gardner, advisor to the Ohio Department of Education. “With these grants, the DeWine-Husted Administration continues to focus on helping our colleges and universities provide the safest learning environments possible.”
To be eligible for grant funding, colleges and universities have conducted a security and vulnerability assessment to identify areas in need of safety improvements.
Since its inception in 2021, A total of about 10 million dollars in funding through the Ohio Center for School Safety’s Campus Safety Scholarship Program.
Governor DeWine created a Ohio School Safety Center in 2019 to help local schools, colleges, universities, and law enforcement agencies prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a comprehensive, solutions-based approach to improving school safety.
Governor DeWine has also worked to protect school students and staff through additional strategies to reduce violent crime and strengthen mental health services, including:
Enhance school security
- Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio General Assembly to create Ohio K-12 School Safety Scholarship Program for public schools and Ohio Safety and Security Scholarship Program For accredited non-public schools, licensed preschools, non-profit organizations, and religious institutions.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio Schools Safety Working Group made up of experts in the areas of public safety, education, mental health, emergency management, and more. The group meets quarterly to discuss school safety issues and local trends and needs.
Encouraging student wellness
- Governor DeWine created the Student Health and Success Fund, a $1.2 billion investment that is now part of the school’s funding formula, to provide comprehensive services to students. Wraparound Services is programming and support intended to build skills and meet the needs of a student or family. To date, this funding has launched 1,300 mental health programs and trained 6,500 teachers and school professionals.
- After hearing of the need for more accessible mental health services for students on college campuses, Governor DeWine led the nation in investing $13.5 million to expand mental health services for higher education students.
Strengthening the mental health workforce in Ohio
- as part of Health Workforce InitiativeGovernor DeWine announced a plan to invest $85 million, with the help of the General Assembly, to expand Ohio’s behavioral health workforce to meet the need.
Reducing violent crime
- Governor DeWine has worked with the Ohio General Investment Association $250 million in Ohio law enforcement agencies and first responders.
- Governor DeWine created a Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative To double the number of units of Ohio’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to help law enforcement identify criminals responsible for fatal shootings and other incidents of gun violence in Ohio.
- Governor DeWine created a Ohio Crime Lab Competency Program To eliminate the backlog in forensic testing at accredited Ohio crime labs across the state with the goal of returning evidence test results to law enforcement faster.
- Governor DeWine created a Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Scholarship Program To provide funding to local law enforcement agencies to help them implement new strategies to reduce violent crime in their communities.
- Governor DeWine directed the Ohio State Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement with “surge operations” designed to intercept gun violence and recover stolen or illegally owned weapons.
- Governor DeWine created a Electronic guarantee System, a statewide criminal justice database to improve the accuracy of state and federal background checks and streamline the process for filing surety orders and protective orders in Ohio.