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USC To Install Fingerprint Scanners In On-Campus Residences

Jacob Freedman |
November 6, 2012 | 12:17 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter


Inside a USC dorm. Dorms have been a growing epicenter for theft on campus. (Rappzula/Flickr)
Inside a USC dorm. Dorms have been a growing epicenter for theft on campus. (Rappzula/Flickr)
University of Southern California's student housing authority announced this week that fingerprint scanners will be installed at the entrance of every on-campus residence facility. Additionally, guests of residents will now have to leave a valid ID card with building officials to obtain a temporary guest pass.

The moves come days after a Halloween night on-campus shooting that injured four people -- none of whom were members of the USC community. But the added security appears part of a broader push by the South L.A. university to reduce theft and better monitor campus. During the past couple of years, the university has boosted the number of security cameras around campus -- even adding some inside student housing buildings -- and hired unarmed private security guards to stand at posts around campus. University officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

In an email sent at about 2:30 p.m. Monday to all residents living on campus, USC Housing instructed residents to visit their housing area's Customer Service Center in order to scan their fingerprints as well as picture. The residents have from Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. until Friday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. to do so. Starting Monday, Nov. 12 at 8:00 a.m., students will have to swipe their card as well as scan their fingerprint to enter their housing facility. Ten of USC’s 12 on-campus residence facilities are exclusively for freshman.

Last Wednesday's shooting took place in a crowd of about 150 people waiting to enter a “Freak or Greek” party hosted by USC’s Black Student Assembly and an event company called LA Hype. Prosecutors on Monday charged Brandon Spencer, 20, with four counts of attempted murder in the incident. He plead not guilty. Neither Spencer or any of the victims were USC students.

MORE: USC Shooting: Officials Acknowledge Gaps In Monitoring Halloween Party

Some students polled Monday night were skeptical about the effectiveness of the fingerprint scanners and ID turnovers.

“I don’t understand how it will be any more effective than the current security procedures,” said USC freshman Alex Coco, who lives on campus. “A resident can still hold the door for friends and others who do not live in the dormitory, defeating the purpose of the fingerprint scanner.”

After the fatal shooting of two Chinese graduate students last April in a neighborhood near campus, changes were made in security with the goal of improving security, including bolstering LAPD monitoring of the University Park area.

“I think the university needed to take an action because of this incident that happened on campus,” USC senior Lena Cronin said. “Whether or not this is the most effective measure, I don’t think so. It’s more for show.”

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