Letter to the editor

This house can learn, too

Service learning is the foundation that the Joint Educational Project House is built on.

To say that extra credit is “handed out” to volunteers would be a severe understatement.

JEP volunteers must earn whatever credit they receive, and the tasks JEP volunteers undertake vary based on which courses they participate through.

JEP staff works closely with USC professors and students to make the JEP program reflect the USC courses.

Whereas oceanography students teach geology concepts in Los Angeles classrooms, sociology students volunteer as mentors in classrooms or battered women’s shelters, applying concepts from their course to their experiences at their site in their weekly essay assignments.

Of course there has to be some instruction on how to teach, but this does not discount the benefits students receive academically.

The underlying idea is that in order to teach something, you must learn it completely.

By teaching college-level concepts in Los Angeles classrooms, our volunteers are consistently reinforcing the material they learn in their USC courses.

JEP is not built to assist desperate students in comprehending the intricacies of Chemistry 105bL, but it does provide a mechanism for more abstract concepts to become grounded in reality.

We hope and expect that our volunteers take away more from our program than the extra credit they receive or the knowledge about teaching. At the end of the semester, JEP asks for feedback on the program.

Most commonly students report that participating in JEP increased their performance in their course throughout the semester outside of the extra credit.

This goes to show that service learning is still alive and strong on USC’s campus.

Camille Waddell

Senior, international relations

Students need more alert

On March 4, I was skateboarding from my apartment on 27th Street and Magnolia Avenue to a house near the corner of 29th and Hoover streets where I had left my phone earlier in the day. As I approached 29th on Orchard Avenue, I began to notice a steady stream of people heading in the opposite direction and a general feeling of unease among them. As I turned onto 29th I saw police cars speeding down from both Hoover and Vermont Avenue. More and more people were fleeing from an apartment complex and it wasn’t until I passed the scene on the other side of the street that I saw DPS leaning over a man lying on the sidewalk.

Of course, this shooting was the incident that has now been widely covered by the Daily Trojan, ATVN, and even the local news. Over the course of the next few hours, however, the university sent no warning, notice or alert to the USC community. I am a senior, and during the last three years I have seen the number of crime report emails wane. They used to come almost weekly, usually describing a robbery or assault “in an effort to better communicate with the campus community about public safety issues.” I was talking just the other week about how I don’t receive these emails anymore.

Perhaps crime in the area has truly decreased. I do believe that the presence of the yellow-jacketed CSC officers has made the North University Park area safer at night.

I am skeptical, though, that crime has decreased as much as USC would like us to believe. The lack of notice about crimes like the one that occurred that night is the result of a calculated plan to buck the historically dangerous reputation of the USC area. I believe the attempt to make USC a more attractive place for applicants and to boost our position in national university rankings has been the university’s first priority under President C. L. Max Nikias, even at the expense of student safety.

The USC emergency email and text message system has been utilized over the last few years to alert students of incidents such as suspicious packages (from Leavey Library to as far away as 35th Street and Budlong Avenue), gas leaks and loss of power and internet services at the Health Sciences Campus. The last use of this system was Jan. 14, according to the Trojans Alert website.

To me, the use of this emergency system in a situation like the shooting should have been obvious. 29th Street is heavily populated by USC students and the shooting occurred at a time of night when many students would be returning home from parties or the 901 Bar and Grill. It is astounding to me that not one notification was sent when several shots were fired in the middle of the street and the assailants were not apprehended.

If the university or President Nikias has a response to why no such notice was sent, I, and I’m sure many other students and parents, would be interested to hear it.

Although a positive public image is clearly a valuable thing for a top-tier university like ours, protecting this image while endangering the student population is absolutely unacceptable.

Ryan Ferguson

Senior, international relations