The return of students to the Washington State Community College campus always brings a vibrant energy, and perhaps even more so this year. With everything we’ve endured over the past 19 months, I was excited to see students back in our classrooms, our library busy with activity, and our hallways once again active with students moving between classes.
In 2021, welcoming students for a new academic year takes on added meaning and responsibility. In addition to educating our students and preparing them for the workforce, we are persevering in our efforts to keep our students, employees, and staff, and our campus community safe. For that reason, I am grateful that Washington State is one of the recipients of the 2021 Campus Safety Grant Awards. Governor Mike DeWine announced these awards on August 30, and WSCC was selected to receive $316,719. This was the largest amount awarded to a community college and the fourth-largest award among all Ohio institutions of higher education. These funds will support our efforts to enhance the physical and cyber security of our campus.
The Campus Safety Grant Program is one of two new school safety grant programs launched by the Ohio School Safety Center this year. Governor DeWine created the Ohio School Safety Center in 2019. It is housed in the Ohio Homeland Security Division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and works 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.
We are thankful for this opportunity and appreciate Governor DeWine, Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner, Department of Public Safety Director Thomas Stickrath, and Ohio legislators for making this funding available. I credit my facilities and information technology teams for the security assessment they conducted and my public relations team for writing the grant. Washington State will make the best use of these funds to ensure our students are preparing for a successful future in a safe and secure environment.
I’m looking to another great year ahead!
Dr. Vicky Wood
Washington State Community College