In response to security measures
Dear USC community,
The purpose of this letter is to oppose recent actions taken by the Office of the President:
1. Installation of fencing on north perimeter of University Park Campus
2. Failure to promptly notify the USC community of temporary fencing
3. Creation of after-hours access periods from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. restricting campus to
students, faculty and staff
4. Increases in the number of Department of Public Safety officers and yellow jacket ambassadors
5. Ban on pre-rush social events on Fraternity and Sorority Row
First, newly erected chain-link fences negatively impact the university. The temporary fencing is ugly. Permanent fencing would be even uglier. Fellow students use the term “prison” to describe the barriers along Jefferson Boulevard and Trousdale Parkway. Prospective students and parents touring campus will be distressed by the six-foot-tall metal gating and conclude USC is unsafe — a false notion we have fought hard to combat. Spiked posts and brick pillars already border the west, south and east sides of UPC. Now, the Nikias administration has constructed, both physically and symbolically, another wall between campus and community.
Second, the construction of fencing was carried out without timely notice. Following the Halloween shooting on campus, President C. L. Max Nikias announced measures on Nov. 6, 2012 to promote campus safety. However, installation of “temporary fencing” wasn’t declared until Dec. 21, when students were on winter recess and buildings were closed. Within a week, the fence was up and returning students were shocked to find campus enclosed in a gate. There was no opportunity for the USC community to veto or even comment on the installation of fencing.
Third, restriction of campus access from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to students, faculty and staff is concerning. For starters, alumni must be allowed after-hours access. Additionally, if the university wants “a campus that welcomes all our neighbors for recreation, entertainment, education, and the community programs,” it will re-open campus to all seeking to use USC facilities for the betterment of society.
Fourth, I would like to formally oppose the addition of DPS officers and yellow jacket guards to the already bloated security system. DPS response time is impressive; increasing the number of officers is excessive. Furthermore, the multiplication of safety personnel creates a constant stifling state of observance in and around UPC. As a university we should not sacrifice freedom of movement for relatively little or no added security.
Fifth, the university’s ban on pre-rush Greek social events is troubling. Social outlets are important to a holistic college experience and the cancellation of these events in the guise of safety and finance is hollow. The construction of the north perimeter fencing undoubtedly cost much more than added security during the Wednesday and Thursday during which pre-rush has historically taken place.
As a student I am a primary stakeholder in the university. It is disturbing to watch important decisions in our university made by the Office of the President without timely notification or student input. I encourage the university to reopen campus to all people 24 hours a day, decrease its police state atmosphere and restore a social environment that promotes safety. President Nikias, tear down this wall!
Senior, political science