Ohio State Student Government Tackles Off-Campus Safety, Security


UPDATED: Sunday March 31, 2013 7:50 AM

Months after a landmark deal to allow both Columbus police and Ohio State University's police officers to respond in the off-campus area, the student government tackles another major issue: off-campus quality of life. 

A special task force came up with several suggestions, which are now being reviewed by President E. Gordon Gee.  At the same time, students told 10TV they are ready for improvements.

“A lot of times, the street lights will go out around midnight, one o'clock in the morning. So, traveling by yourself, even on a weeknight is a little scary,” said OSU sophomore Olivia O’Reilly.

Students point also point to run-down housing, smashed sidewalks, and pot holes as problems.  Those are some of the issues the student government said they addressed, in their search for answers.

“We have these landlords that frankly are taking advantage of students. We have a huge quality and price problem,” said OSU Student Government President, Taylor Stepp.

Stepp said he wants to improve the quality of off-campus living.

“As you get to the fringe parts of campus, you're going to see lower costs but you'll also see lower quality for the most part. And you will certainly see more crime,” Stepp said.

On the east side of North High Street, 10TV found places for rent, alongside overturned dumpsters, graffiti, and security cameras.

“We hope to work with the city to provide things like more lighting, improve sidewalks, improve - planning the off campus area so students have a more safe conduit to travel around,” Stepp said.

Students said they realize crime can happen anywhere, but they say the further they get away from campus, the less safe they feel.

“About a block down the street, earlier this year, I saw a mugging at gunpoint,” said OSU Sophomore, Erik Leiden.

As startling as that may sound, Leiden said that doesn’t deter him from living where he does.

Sophomore Olivia O'Reilly said she definitely sees room for improvement.

“I think I should feel safe anywhere around campus and I think I should definitely have the right to feel safe in my community,” she said.

The student government president told 10TV he believes a review of landlords will likely be the first thing accomplished. He said improving infrastructure and creating a common area for students off-campus will take time.