Middle Tennessee State University, along with other schools across Tennessee, recently benefitted from the state’s Higher Education Safety Grant — landing $1.8 million to spend on further investing in keeping Blue Raiders safe.
“Any external funding is always welcome and assists in our goal of protecting our university community,” said Chief Ed Kaup of MTSU’s Police Department, who headed the grant’s application. “Using outside funds allows for projects we wouldn’t generally be able to provide if it wasn’t already earmarked in this year’s budget. It also helps to alleviate the budget pressure most higher education institutions are under.”
The Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration’s Office of Criminal Justice Programs approved a total of $30 million for the grant last fall, and Kaup said he coordinated with Alan Thomas, vice president for business and finance, and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to work through the grant application process.
“We were sent our contract for successfully securing the funds on Jan. 16,” Kaup said. “This grant allows us to use the award for safety improvements in the categories of building physical security improvements, campus physical control improvements, security monitoring and communication improvements, emergency notification improvements, threat assessments, in-state training, and construction or renovation to improve security needs.”
Kaup explained the allocation amount was predetermined by the state based on factors like in-person student enrollment numbers and the university system the institution is a part of, MTSU governed by the MTSU Board of Trustees.
Alan Thomas said the university has 18 months to use the funds, so administration put together a committee of university safety stakeholders — such as members of the campus police department, Facilities Services, Information Technology and more — to determine a strategic plan for using the funds. The plan will be recommended to University President Sidney A. McPhee for approval in the coming months.
Said Thomas: “We are excited to receive these grant funds that will allow the university to enhance the safety and security of the campus for our students, employees and visitors. The university is continually funding safety measures for the campus in its annual budget, but this grant will allow us to put in additional measures not always allowed from our limited resources. I believe the committee will provide valuable input into developing a plan that uses these funds in the most effective way for the campus.”
Kaup added that in the meantime, the department will continue to keep campus safe and secure as usual.
“As (other) grants become available, we will continue to apply for the funding we qualify for and believe will benefit the university’s public safety goals,” he said.