Message to the USC community
Dear USC community,
The safety of USC students, faculty and staff on campus is a top priority for me and for my leadership team. Like you, I was unsettled and troubled by last week’s shooting. While the situation was resolved quickly and without physical harm to students, faculty or staff, an event such as this is a sobering reminder that we must work constantly to ensure the safety of our university community. My administration has taken a number of steps over the last few years that have significantly improved the security of our campus and neighborhoods, but this incident made it clear that more must be done.
Let me begin by recounting what we believe led to this incident. A student group held a Halloween party on campus and used a third-party promoter that advertised the event throughout Los Angeles, even though the event was open only to students with student IDs. As a result, many nonstudents arrived on campus who were not admitted to the party. I want to emphasize that the USC students who organized the party never intended for this situation to develop. A disagreement took place between two nonstudents outside the event that led to the shooting. This incident does not reflect our neighborhood safety but instead was a case of the wrong people being drawn to campus by a promoter. The measures I will describe are intended to prevent that circumstance from arising again.
Immediately following the incident, I directed USC’s leadership to conduct an expedited review of our campus security and event policies. After consulting with students and community leaders, we agreed on some key changes that I would like to share with you.
Effective immediately, we are making a number of changes to our policies related to the planning, approval and hosting of events.
- Use of outside event promoters will no longer be permitted for USC social events in university facilities or on Fraternity and Sorority Row.
- All future student event applications will undergo heightened review by Student Affairs.
- At on-campus events where IDs will be checked, USC Department of Public Safety officers will be responsible for checking IDs of all individuals attending.
The following additional measures to improve campus safety will start to roll out immediately and be fully implemented when classes resume after winter break, on Jan. 14, 2013. I emphasize in the strongest possible terms that we remain and always will be a campus that welcomes all our neighbors for recreation, entertainment, education and the community programs that have made USC a proud University Park neighbor for 132 years.
- After-hours access to the University Park Campus between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be restricted to students, faculty, staff and their guests, including guests at university events, seven days a week.
- Anyone who enters campus after 9 p.m. will be required to show appropriate ID prior to entrance, including students, faculty and staff, and their guests.
- Showing appropriate ID prior to campus entrance may also be required during weekends when the number of access points into the campus is limited, with the exception of days featuring large campus events, such as football games or the Festival of Books.
- We will increase the number of Public Safety officers and yellow jacket ambassadors on the perimeter of campus, at entrances and on campus, as we already have in the neighborhoods around the campus.
- We will have security personnel on site 24 hours a day to check IDs at the entrances to USC residence halls on the University Park Campus and will further secure all other entrances to those buildings.
- We will install additional security cameras on the perimeter and at campus entrances.
These new policies and safety measures are important for the entire campus community, including our neighbors who spend a great deal of time on our campus. Each of these actions builds on the extensive safety improvement efforts that we have undertaken over the past several years and that have resulted in a significant decrease in crime incidents in the surrounding neighborhood.
I feel very strongly that the safety and security of our entire campus community outweighs small inconveniences, such as showing an ID when we enter the campus at night or on weekends. I appreciate your support and cooperation as we strive to protect and enhance the remarkable campus life and environment that is so special to the USC community and our neighbors.
C. L. Max Nikias