USC Halloween Party Planner Critical Of Campus Police
“There were so many officers downstairs making sure everyone had their IDs, there weren’t enough to make sure everything was OK,” said Twan Evans of L.A. Hype, the organization listed as an event co-sponsor along with the USC Black Student Assembly.
A single gunman wounded four people — none of them affiliated with the university. Police arrested two suspects 13 minutes later half a mile west of the shooting scene. Authorities booked one suspect on an attempted murder charge.
Evans said the shooting broke out “when everyone was upset they couldn’t get in.” He said he found out around 11 p.m. that all guests must show a university ID to get in.
The USC Department of Public Safety’s Capt. David Carlisle said that the shooting may have been gang-related. According to the Daily Trojan, DPS “uses a special events coordinator” to recommend the needed level of security at events.
Evans said this was the first party he had attended or organized at USC that required student IDs. He said he also co-organized a Sept. 29 party with BSA.
“Every event I went to at USC, I didn’t have a campus ID and I was allowed in,” Evans said.
University policy states that people attending on-campus parties must show student IDs from USC or another university.
The shooting occurred at a party called “Freak or Greek” at USC’s Grand Ballroom on Wednesday around 11:30 p.m. Vice President Michael L. Jackson confirmed that the Black Student Association produced the party with L.A. Hype, and that the party was an exception to the usual university policy of not having parties on weekdays.
Evans described LA Hype as an organization that promotes 18-plus parties around the region, including in Hollywood.
“Well I actually I promote in Hollywood for different 18 overs and, you know different people,” said Evans. “I got involved, I organized a few events on campus and I met a few students.”
Evans said that the Halloween party was originally only promoted at four college campuses (Loyola Marymount University, Long Beach State, Santa Monica College and the University of California, Los Angeles) and that others found out about the party through social media, including Twitter. He said he only printed 200 fliers for the event.
Because his tweets were private and he shared the handout, he was unaware that so many people “who had no involvement” would be there.
“The overflow is on the Internet, on Twitter,” he said.
As the shooting unfolded, Evans said he was downstairs along with university security checking IDs. He said does not know the victims or the alleged shooters.
“The event had turned into not a party but a safe place for people to be while the investigation occurred,” Evans said. “I was never upstairs from when it began to when the [shooting] occurred.”
He said the USC scheduling office, which must approve all events on campus, and DPS were aware of his involvement from the start. The event planners also paid for the DPS services that night, along with Campus Center resources. A message left for Carlisle was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.
“The scheduling [office] approved our original flier,” Evans said. “It’s not like we broke into campus and had a party.”
Evans said that he lost about $3,600 from the event, as the party cost $4,000 to produce and only about $400 was earned. According to the USC Scheduling Office website, the largest event at the Tutor Campus Center Ballroom would have cost about $2,200, including deposits and minimum staffing fees for a student organization event lasting from zero to six hours.
“We probably charged 75 people,” Evans said. “It was a major loss.”
Two days before the party, Evans said in a tweet, “private school = private security and own police department I wish you would act up at USC on Halloween Night you can be Rodney King #schype.” Evans, who uses the Twitter handle @ayTwan, said the tweet was the opposite of a call for violence.
“I tweeted that private security part of it to let them know you have no worries, we have the proper precautions in line,” he said. “Everybody knows Rodney King got beaten, we don’t want that to happen, we just want you to come out and have fun.”
Evans refused to provide any information regarding the students in BSA who were involved with the planning of the party. He clarified that the size of the event was due to the spread on social media.
“Just about how many people heard that was a shooting, that many people heard about the party,” he said. “[We’re going to] stay positive, and produce quality safe events, which we have a record of, not thugs who show up that aren’t invited.”
Reach Staff Reporter Nandini Ruparel here.