For most students, events such as Springfest on Saturday seemingly run without a hitch and with the same success as previous years. However, the security policies implemented on Jan. 14 have made event planning more difficult, especially for smaller student-organized events such as KXSC Fest.
The new measures restrict access to the University Park Campus between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Additionally, student event applications now undergo stricter review by Student Affairs. As a result, on-campus events require heightened security in the form of additional fencing and Dept. of Public Safety personnel.
KXSC Fest 2013, which was held March 30 by the student-run independent radio station, was affected by the increased costs of on-campus event security.
Previously held in Founder’s Park, this year’s Fest took place within the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom and was open to students only.
“Last year, we had at one time about 2,500 people at Fest itself in front of the stage,” said the KXSC Promotions Director Malia Schilling. “Peak attendance this year was between 400 and 500 — less than a quarter of what we had last year — which was disappointing but very reflective of the changes we had to deal with. It changed the way people interacted with KXSC Fest.”
The indoor location altered the festival’s former structure by eliminating the traditional outdoor atmosphere and requiring student ID verification upon entry. Unlike former years, the event was closed to non-students.
“There was no traffic with people walking by asking, ‘What’s that amazing thing in the park?’” said the KXSC Head of External Relations Annie Vought.
KXSC hit the airwaves in 1975. Since 2009, it has held an annual music festival in Founder’s Park.
According to an Undergraduate Student Government student programming security resolution, the new security measures were instated after the USG budget had been allocated. Because of this, student organizations must pay for the required security on their own.
Director of Performance Venues Brandon Operchuck said he recognizes the difficulties placed upon the school to ensure student safety and that DPS made an effort to work with KXSC.
“Our event, by the book, represents the most complicated type of event,” Operchuck said. “We were definitely overstaffed with DPS and CSC. Thankfully they cut down through the evening to save the station costs.”
USG representatives said they are also working to balance the payment responsibility for large on-campus events. KXSC General Manager Lee Robinson was grateful for USG’s support, though it did not keep the festival outdoors.
“It is USG’s job to help students, but with the increase in security, their same amount of funds isn’t enough to do so,” Lee said. “We have the same pot of money, but if everyone is grabbing more, then people are going to get left out.”
In the past, KXSC Fest has been open to the surrounding L.A. community. Last year, the event was featured in a calendar brief on Pitchfork.com, which generated publicity and led to a large turnout.
“In the past we’ve really loved being able to bring USC and the surrounding community together. And I think that’s been a great thing for us and a great thing for everyone who doesn’t go to USC but lives in the area,” Schilling said.
Voight said the increased security costs have placed a heavy burden on student-organized events.
“There’s a lack of transparency about these policies and what student groups are supposed to do in order to succeed despite them,” Vought said. “We understand the need for security, but to do so at the expense of countless student organizations’ successful events jeopardizes a lot of financial solvency and reputation.”
KXSC and its affiliates remain hopeful about future festivals. Lee emphasized the need to open lines of communication to further improve the funding and organization of on-campus, student-organized events. Schilling also expressed a desire for interaction with administration.
“We would love to be involved in the security measures and policies, especially as they pertain to us and our events, because we have knowledge of our organization and our events that DPS and the administration would find valuable,” Schilling said.