Parents of Ohio State University students bought two billboards as part of an ongoing protest of rising crime rates on the campus, prompting a new university safety plan that was announced Friday.
“One is too many,” one billboard reads, featuring OSU student Chase Meola. Meola was shot and killed outside Phi Kappa Psi’s OSU chapter, according to Fox News. The other billboard states, “College should not be a crime scene,” featuring the hashtag #OSUProtectOurKids.” Parents who spoke to ABC 6 reacted to the safety plan with relief, and some credited the billboards. Others reportedly feel the plan is insufficient.
— Parents for a Safe OSU (@Parents4SafeOSU) September 24, 2021
“This is personal for me,” Ohio State president Kristina M. Johnson said Friday, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “There is nothing I take more personally than student safety.”
The university will be investing an additional $2 million in an effort to expand safety and security measures on and off campus, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
OSU parent Irene Hendrick argued that the funding is “not even close” to what is needed to instill safety at the university, noting that the school had spent $2 million a week for COVID-19 safety measures in the past, according to Fox News.
“I don’t think $2 million even scratches the surface of what needs to be done to really provide us and their 60,000 students a real feeling of safety,” Hendrick stated.
“Our perception is crime is out of hand,” Hendrick said, according to 10 WBNS. Hendrick said she has had trouble sleeping since Meola’s death on Oct. 11, 2020. “I have stopped sleeping. I don’t go to sleep until I know [my son is] home,” Hendrick told the outlet.
— CarenB (@carenbWoke) September 24, 2021
“These kids are just so, so scared,” OSU parent Allyson Reid told Fox News.
Meola’s mother headed the campaign, according to 10 WBNS. Overall, there have been over 3,000 reported safety-related incidents in 2019 with 96.9% of all incidents having occurred on-campus, according to College Factual.
“You leave your child at university with the expectation of a wonderful education, with the hope of a great social life, but you do not anticipate the threat of violent crime being part of their day-to-day experience,” OSU parent Jo Varnish said, according to Fox News.