Enhanced campus security measures were altered to accommodate large crowds for Saturday’s football game.
Last January, the USC Dept. of Public Safety instituted new measures including some restrictions of people on campus from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Typically, students entering campus after 9 p.m. are required to show their student ID at eight of the 27 entrances that remain open on campus. Due to the late start time of the football game on Saturday, however, those measures were adapted to accommodate large crowds.
“From the beginning we knew we would have to make exceptions on game day because of the vast size of the crowd and the impracticality of trying to screen anyone coming onto or passing through campus,” DPS Deputy Chief David Carlisle said.
According to Carlisle, campus restrictions were imposed again gradually Saturday night and Sunday morning, after it had been determined that the majority of fans were back on campus.
“At approximately 10 o’clock CSC — the private security company — began to close down some of the least-used pedestrian gates and by 11 o’clock most of the gates along Jefferson were closed. However, they didn’t do a complete security perimeter until 1:30 a.m.,” DPS Chief John Thomas said.
Students coming back on campus through different gates prior to midnight report having their IDs checked.
Brianna Pivo, a freshman majoring in biology said she and a group of friends left at halftime and went to Chipotle. When they came to campus just after 10 p.m. they were asked to show their IDs. Later, when the group came back from Gateway, they were once again asked to show their IDs.
“They were very clear about checking my ID,” Pivo said. “They always are.”
Freshman philosophy major Jenny Gilbert said that when she came back to campus just past 11 p.m. she was also asked to show her ID, but not everyone in her group was.
“They asked everyone to have their ID[s] ready but they were pretty casual about checking,” she said.
Though DPS intended to leave campus open until after midnight, the majority of fans exit through the gate on Trousdale Parkway and Exposition Boulevard after football games, so students going through other gates might have been asked to show their IDs.
“The main entrances on Trousdale and Exposition stayed open quite late as people were coming from the Coliseum,” Thomas said.
Despite this being the first football game since the implementation of new measures, Carlisle said officers had some experience suspending these measures as fans left the Galen Center after night basketball games last winter.
“We put extra staffing at that location and we monitored the traffic flow of pedestrians and cars, but we did not stop people and force them to show identification,” Carlisle said. “It would be impractical, very man power-intensive and [would] have a significant negative impact on the fans.”
Still, managing crowds after basketball games is a much easier task because of smaller crowds at the Galen Center, which holds more than 10,000 spectators, compared to the Coliseum, which holds nearly 95,000. On football game days Carlisle estimates that at least 30,000 tailgaters park on campus and thus need to be allowed back after the game.
Despite the large crowd, Carlisle said DPS typically does not see an increase in crime on game day.
“We have a large crowd of USC supporters tailgating and for such a large crowd, they’re remarkably well-behaved and civil,“ Carlisle said. “Campus security restrictions are designed to keep the thieves out; they’re not designed to keep fans away.”
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