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Mount St. Mary's Awarded Protection Against Hate Crimes Grant

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Approximately 90 new security cameras have been installed on campus, with funding provided by the Protection Against Hate Crimes Grant through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

Mount St. Mary’s University was awarded a $48,850 Protection Against Hate Crimes Grant, an expansion of the Protecting Religious Institutions Grant, through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. The funds provided security-related enhancements to the Mount’s sacred spaces including video cameras, improved access, equipment and installation.

“Approximately 90 camera have been installed campus-wide by the Department of Information Technology over the summer,” said Todd Otis and Kim Klabe, who oversee Public Safety and Physical Plant. “They will be connected to a new nerve center being developed by Public Safety to ensure a recorded history.”

Grants Manager Kathy Criasia led the application process in September 2019 when she discovered Maryland had set aside $3 million to protect religious institutions, specifically houses of worship. “We considered the seminary, the National Shrine Grotto, all the chapels and the library because of the religious archives and the religious studies collection,” she said.

A press release from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention in November noted the expansion of the Protecting Religious Institutions Grant program to include all nonprofit organizations in Maryland, including religious institutions, with membership and facilities that could be targeted for a hate crime—effectively now the Protection Against Hate Crimes Grant.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.” According to the State of Maryland 2018 Hate Bias Report, there were 356 hate bias incidents, on average, reported in Maryland each year from 2016-18.

“Our university’s number one priority is student success. We cannot teach students to be successful and lead lives of significance if they do not feel safe,” said President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. “Keeping students safe is our most important duty. Families trust us first and foremost to keep their loved ones safe and I am fully committed to doing this. This is also about treating each and every person with dignity and respect. Promoting human dignity is a central tenet of the Catholic faith, a guiding principal of the Mount and an integral part of sustaining a life of value.”

Former Vice President and Chief of Staff Wayne Green, Associate Director of Public Safety Diane Kelly and Senior Accounting Manager Nichol Moeller also worked in collaboration with Criasia.