Athens, Georgia – Over the next three years, the University of Georgia (UGA) will spend $8.5 million to enhance safety and security on and near campus. The improvements will include more lighting, video surveillance, police officers and a rideshare program for students.
“As president of the University of Georgia, I have no higher priority than the health and safety of our campus community—students, faculty, staff, and the many alumni and other visitors who come here each year for programs and events,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead in a statement on Tuesday.
UGA Today reports that the funds will support the following initiatives:
- “Up to $1 million annually ($3 million total) to enhance overnight transportation options, including a rideshare program for students that would operate every night of the week. UGA is finalizing negotiations with several providers, with details to be announced following Fall Break.
- “$1.5 million ($500,000 annually) for 10 new UGA Police Department officers and civilian support staff to be phased in over the next three years.
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- “$3 million in enhancements to on-campus lighting and security cameras. UGA will continue to place additional lights and cameras in areas of high pedestrian traffic in and around residence halls and in other strategic areas to help prevent crime on or near campus. These areas are identified, in part, through annual safety assessment walk-throughs of campus by leaders of the Student Government Association, UGA Police and UGA Facilities Management.
- “$750,000 ($250,000 annually) as a permanent increase to UGA’s infrastructure budget to support annual maintenance and ongoing lighting and security camera upgrades.
- “An offer of a one-time allocation of $250,000 for the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACC) to address lighting and/or security camera improvements in the downtown business district and poorly lit pathways to and from campus. Recommendations for the enhancements would be made in partnership by the UGA Police and ACC Police chiefs.”
The new funding is in addition to the nearly $6 million the school has already spent on safety improvements over the past four years.
The announcement came amid a recent spike in crime near the Athens campus, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In October, UGA police have investigated robberies, a sexual battery complaint and a weapon on campus.