(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that 33 colleges and universities in Ohio will receive a total of $5 million in funding for security projects that enhance the safety of students and staff.
"These funds will go directly toward helping our institutions of higher education become more secure," 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 grant awards are part of the 2022 Campus Safety Grant Program, which was funded with support from the Ohio legislature in Senate Bill 310 of the 133rd General Assembly. The Ohio School Safety Center, which is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, reviewed the campus safety grant applications in consultation with the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Funds will be used to cover expenses associated with physical security enhancements 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 Ohio Department of Education Chancellor Randy Gardner. “Through these grants, the DeWine-Husted Administration continues to focus on helping our colleges and universities provide for the safest learning environments possible.”
To be eligible for grant funding, colleges and universities conducted a security and vulnerability assessment to identify areas in need of safety enhancements.
Since its creation in 2021, a total of approximately $10 million in funding has been awarded through the Ohio School Safety Center's Campus Safety Grant Program.
Governor DeWine created the Ohio School Safety Center in 2019 to assist local schools, colleges and universities, and law enforcement agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach to improving school safety.
Governor DeWine has also worked to protect school students and staff through additional violent crime reduction strategies and enhanced mental health services, including:
Enhancing School Security
- Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio General Assembly to create the Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program for public schools and the Ohio Safety and Security Grant Program for chartered nonpublic schools, licensed preschools, nonprofit organizations, and religious institutions.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio School Safety Working Group consisting of experts in the fields of public safety, education, mental health, emergency management, and others. The group meets quarterly to discuss school safety issues, trends, and local needs.
Encouraging Student Wellness
- Governor DeWine created the Student Wellness and Success Fund, a $1.2 billion investment that is now a part of the school funding formula, to provide wraparound services to students. Wraparound services are programming and supports meant to build skills and fulfill a student or familial need. To date, this funding has launched 1,300 mental health programs and trained 6,500 educators and school professionals.
- After hearing about the need for more accessible mental health services for students on college campuses, Governor DeWine led the nation with a $13.5 million investment to expand mental health services for higher education students.
Strengthening Ohio’s Mental Health Workforce
- As part of his Wellness Workforce Initiative, Governor 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 worked with the Ohio General Assembly to invest $250 million in Ohio’s law enforcement agencies and first responders.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative to double the number of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network units in Ohio to help law enforcement identify criminals responsible for deadly shootings and other incidents of gun violence in Ohio.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program to eliminate backlogs in the testing of criminal evidence at Ohio’s certified crime labs across the state with the goal of returning evidence test results back to law enforcement faster.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program to provide funding to local law enforcement agencies to help them implement new violent crime reduction strategies in their communities.
- Governor DeWine directed the Ohio State Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement with “surge operations” designed to interdict gun violence and repossess stolen or illegally possessed guns.
- Governor DeWine created the eWarrant system, a statewide criminal justice database to improve the accuracy of state and federal background checks and streamline the process to file warrants and protection orders in Ohio.