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Safety task force recommendations roll out in new semester

Self-defense videos highlight effort to bring resources to campus community

An Ohio State University task force focused on improving the community’s safety and sense of belonging launched new tools and resources this month.

The University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being completed a comprehensive assessment of the safety of the Ohio State community, analyzing on-campus and University District crime statistics and current crime prevention and education resources. 

The group’s recommendations, some of which are being implemented as this semester begins, include improving communication, engagement and support of residents on the Columbus campus and in the near-campus neighborhoods. 

One major initiative: The Department of Public Safety launched a new Safety Spotlight video series featuring resources available to the campus community. The 10-part series includes simple self-defense tactics normally taught in Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes that were postponed because of COVID-19. Videos supporting mental health, safe ride-sharing and residence hall security are also available.

“In response to student feedback, we wanted to find new and creative ways to connect all Buckeyes to safety information and tools that have become less accessible during COVID-19,” said Ohio State University Police Detective Cassandra Shaffer. “These videos allow us to connect with our community in a safe and responsible manner and the feedback from students, faculty and staff has been positive.”

In addition to the news video tools, the Department of Transportation and Traffic Management (TTM) expanded its popular Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State program hours.

The discounted rides are now available from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. inside the designated service area, offering four additional hours of service. Each month 10,000 discounted rides will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis with the average cost expected to be $1 to $2. Once the monthly allotment of 10,000 discounted rides is exhausted, Lyft’s normal service rates will apply for the remainder of the month. Students can learn more at the Lyft Ride Smart website.

“We are always looking for ways to adjust our overall transportation options and service levels to better support our campus community and enhance overall safety,” said Tom Holman, associate director of TTM.

The new video series, details on Lyft Ride Smart and updates on the university’s safety resources are all available now on an updated safety resources webpage.

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