COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio State University announced it has established a new task force to review safety issues on and around campus.
Law enforcement and community leaders will be coming together to address the issues head on after a student was shot and killed near campus this past weekend.
“We lost a beloved student to an act of senseless, criminal violence this week,” OSU President Kristina 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.”
Meola was a 23-year-old fifth-year marketing major from Mahwah, New Jersey. He was shot to death near campus Sunday. Kinte Mitchell Jr. has been arrested and charged with murder in Meola’s death.
“We don’t feel safe walking around campus,” said OSU student Mo Jalleq. “You ask all the students around here everyone feels uneasy. A lot of kids are afraid to walk outside at night.”
The University is taking note and stepping in.
“I think [the task force] is the right thing to do,” Jalleq said. “I feel like everybody was waiting for that response.”
The University is calling it The Task Force on Community Safety and Well Being. The goal is to identify, advocate and implement approaches to address crime, violence and high-risk activities in the area.
“I think it’s a necessity that they’re having a task force come out. I mean when you walk off campus it doesn’t feel safe compared to when you’re on campus,” said OSU student Samantha Thomas.
Co-chairing the force will be Melissa Shivers, vice president of Student Life at OSU.
“Safety is not a benefit, it is a necessity,” Sivers 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.”
Additional task force membership will include: Ohio State students, faculty and staff, parents, law enforcement professionals from the OSU Police Department and the Columbus Division of Police.
The task force will also include 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.
“It’s good to see that they’re doing something about it,” Jalleq said.
The task force will deliver its initial report before the Thanksgiving holiday.