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USC Shooting: Officials Acknowledge Gaps In Monitoring Halloween Party

Sarah Parvini |
November 2, 2012 | 4:46 p.m. PDT

Senior News Editor

USC President C.L. Max Nikias will annouce a policy change early next week. (Joseph Chen)
USC President C.L. Max Nikias will annouce a policy change early next week. (Joseph Chen)
A top USC official acknowledged problems in monitoring the marketing of the on-campus Halloween party during which four people were shot Wednesday night.

The marketing materials in question – fliers circulated by the party’s cosponsor, LA HYPE – advised attendees to “pregame” (or drink) before coming on campus because alcohol would not be offered at the event.

Vice President for Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson said steps will be taken to crack down on open campus events that any student with a college ID can attend.

“We have to get a better handle on guests who come to our campus who may not even care about who we are or what we stand for or what we are trying to do,” Jackson said. “This current practice of encouraging anybody to come to USC needs to be minimized as much as possible.”

(MORE: USC Shooting: “Freak or Greek” Party Was An Exception To University Event Policy”)

When student groups receive their event permits, they show the program board their fliers to ensure they comply with university standards. Jackson said he was unaware of ads encouraging students to drink beforehand.

LA HYPE altered wording on the ads slightly, giving the impression that those “18+ or with a valid college ID” could attend. The materials were changed and circulated online after the original fliers were approved.

“We need to better think of how to deal with social media,” Jackson said. “Back in the day it was posters and phone calls and fliers, now people can put things n the Internet and get to thousands of people very quickly.”

(MORE: USC Halloween Party Planner Critical Of Campus Police)

One of the most pressing issues at hand is the question of an open campus, said David Carlisle, captain of USC’s Department of Publics Safety—specifically, the ease with which non-college students can pay to get into on-campus events.

“I’ve talked to officers and students who say quite often that the people running events will allow people in if they pay a fee,” Carlisle said.

He acknowledged he doesn’t know for certain if that was the case Wednesday night, but that it is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed.

The shooting comes at a sensitive time, just six months after two USC graduate students from China were killed about a mile from campus.

The university is currently taking steps to reform social event policies and make the campus more secure, USC’s President C.L. Max Nikias said in a statement Wednesday night.

“Although this incident did not involve USC students and was resolved quickly, it strikes at the heart of the Trojan Family.  I understand the apprehensions and concerns of our campus community as we move forward,” he said.

Nikias told the L.A. Times in an email Thursday that he would be announcing a policy change early next week.


Reach Senior News Editor Sarah Parvini here. Follow her on Twitter.



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