The decades-old tradition of “protecting” Tommy Trojan and the Bruin Bear has started a bit early this year, with each school already mounting precautions against vandalism.
As of this past weekend, both Tommy Trojan and the Bruin Bear are already prepared for any possible defacing. Tommy is wrapped in duct tape and will soon be under around-the-clock surveillance by the Trojan Knights, while a box engineered like a jigsaw puzzle encases the Bear. This box reportedly cost more than $5,000, and was first used last season in a response to 2009’s $20,000 worth of damage to the Bear after it was covered in red-and-gold paint. The purchase also accompanied $15,000 worth of security cameras. Tommy Trojan is kept under surveillance through the online TommyCam.
USC and UCLA have been in a back-and-forth battle over who can do the most damage during Rivalry Week for decades. This has resulted in a number of pranks, as well as more serious damage: red paint in UCLA’s fountains; blue-and-gold flagpoles in the USC parking lot; red-and-gold spatters on the Bear; UCLA letters on the USC practice field; and of course, the time Tommy’s arm was sawed off and welded to look as though he was stabbing himself in the back. It is no wonder the Trojan Knights will be camping out to protect our mascot.
As an extra precaution, the new statue of Traveler has also been placed in duct tape. The safety wrappings will not be removed until after the game against UCLA on Nov. 26.