10:50 AM

Ohio State establishes University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being

University, law enforcement and community leaders coming together to address safety on campus and in neighborhoods near campus

Kristina M. Johnson, president of The Ohio State University, announced today the establishment of a task force to review safety issues on campus and in neighborhoods near the university -- and to identify, implement and advocate for additional approaches that address violence, crime, and high-risk activities and behaviors.

The University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being will deliver its initial report prior to the Thanksgiving holiday next month. The task force will continue its work throughout the year and will remain a standing task force of the university. 

“We lost a beloved student to an act of senseless, criminal violence this week,” Johnson said in a university-wide email announcing the task force. “Chase Meola was an extraordinary friend to so many in our Buckeye community. We deeply grieve his loss. This crime has left members of our community feeling anxious and concerned about safety.”

The task force will be co-chaired by Melissa Shivers, vice president of the Office of Student Life, and Jay Kasey, senior vice president of the Office of Administration and Planning, which oversees the university’s Department of Public Safety, including the Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD).

Additional task force membership will include: Ohio State students, faculty and staff; parents; law enforcement professionals from OSUPD and the Columbus Division of Police; public health professionals; representatives of neighborhoods in the University District; Ohio State Student Legal Services; and representatives from Columbus City Council and the Office of the Mayor.

“The work of the task force will combine expertise from multiple partners to find practical, convergent solutions that we can apply and implement without delay,” Kasey said.

“Safety is not a benefit, it is a necessity,” Shivers said. “We will be laser-focused on this important work, and that is a promise we make to our students, families and the entire Ohio State community.”

The full charge of the University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being is as follows:

The task force will facilitate a comprehensive analysis of the challenges, opportunities, successes and gaps related to the safety of campus community members. The analysis will include the review of on-campus and University District crime statistics and current crime prevention and education resources. The group will make recommendations to improve communication, engagement and support of residents on campus and in the near-campus neighborhoods. Recommendations should focus on resources that are most important to tangibly improving safety, sense of belonging and community confidence among those engaging in the area. The task force is challenged to identify approaches that minimize violence, crime and high-risk activities and behaviors. The group’s approach will be anchored in principles that reinforce partnership, well-being, community building and outcomes-based results.

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