16:38 PM

New scenario-based class, portable devices among added measures to enhance student safety

Buckeye families invited to sign up for safety-related news alerts, too

A suite of safety enhancements for The Ohio State University students and community members is now available as the university continues to pursue ways to strengthen safety on and off campus.

Protecting the campus community and keeping students, faculty, staff and families informed remain our top priorities. The following new tools help add to an existing toolkit of safety resources:

  • Stay Safe, Buckeyes is an online safety class that teaches students how to enhance their own safety through scenario-based exercises. Students can take the interactive course via BuckeyeLearn. Parents and interested community members can watch all 10 videos on YouTube.
    • Classes focus on topics most relevant to students who live and gather off-campus and include crime prevention, crime reporting, when and why the university issues safety notices, mental health, police engagement and the differences between where Ohio State and Columbus police patrol.
  • Portable personal safety devices that students can attach to their backpacks or purses and pull to signal a loud alarm. The Office of Student Life is offering thousands of these devices that can attract attention in the case of an emergency. This is in addition to the nearly 5,000 window and door alarms, safety timers and smoke alarm batteries that have already been distributed to students this year. Students can register for a pickup time online to get one of the devices at the Willie J. Young, Sr. Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement office in the Ohio Union.
  • Increasing access to Ohio State News Alerts – the new communications tool that offers timely updates to students, faculty and staff ­­­– to parents and families of students. These are separate and distinct from Buckeye Alerts. Instead, these brief, timely updates are designed to provide safety tips and information, health resources, timely traffic information and more.
  • Expanding the Office of Student Life’s Community Ambassador program. Another outcome of the safety task force, ambassadors – students who serve as off-campus advocates and focus on an assigned off-campus area to help promote a safer, engaged and collaborative community ­– is expanding in size and scope.

The university recently expanded Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State into the Short North area along High Street. Program hours run 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and the discounted rides are no longer capped each month.

“These new offerings provide students with additional tools and give parents and families more information about what’s happening around campus,” President Kristina M. Johnson said in an email to the campus community.

Other recent additions include increased private security and mobile lighting and camera systems to support police patrols in the off-campus area.

After the tragic death last October of Ohio State student Chase Meola, President Johnson established the Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being to help identify and implement holistic solutions to safety and well-being in the campus area.

So far, 13 of the task force’s 15 recommendations from the task force have been partially or fully implemented. An overview of safety measures and actions, and how the university has communicated about safety issues, can be seen here via the Department of Public Safety.

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