Effective this fall, Student Affairs will begin covering security costs for all student events on the grounds that alleviating these costs will help campus organizations improve the quality of the experiences that they provide.
Every year, a portion of what students pay in tuition goes to student programming fees, which are used by Undergraduate Student Government special committees to host concerts, shows and other events on campus. When a student organization puts on an event, the organization is also responsible for the security fees, which include paying for DPS, LAPD and CSC, among other entities.
According to USG President Rini Sampath, this means that a large percentage of the money that organizations have in their annual budget is going directly to security costs, instead of being allocated to pay for creating better quality events and enhancing students’ experience.
Former USG president Andrew Menard and current USG president Rini Sampath met last semester with President C. L. Max Nikias to bring this concern to his attention. This past spring, Menard and Sampath discussed this issue with Vice Provost Michael Quick, who along with Ainsley Carry, vice provost for Student Affairs, approved the petition and accepted security costs into the Student Affairs budget.
“Students have complained about the quality of artists that we bring to a concert,” Sampath said. “But that’s one aspect of it … Security costs impact the quality of artists that we bring in, so the more we can take care of costs like these, the more chances we have of signing bigger artists.”
Judah Joseph, executive director of Concerts Committee, said that the security costs for Springfest this year totaled more than $16,000 dollars. Concerts Committee is also responsible for the Welcome Back Concert in August and Conquest during the fall semester. Joseph said he felt it was unnecessary for Concerts Committee to have to pay for security costs when they were already dealing with tight budgets.
“If our one event cost that much money just for security, then you can imagine what our annual security costs are,” Joseph said. “And now that those costs are alleviated from our own responsibility… that money can be much better used.”
Student Affairs officials said since their primary concern is the security of students, they will work hard to build these fees into their next year budget.
“Student safety continues to be one of our top priorities,” Monique Allard, assistant provost for Student Affairs said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “Student Affairs will invest in supporting the cost of security costs this year and build those costs into a budget request for next year.”
Sampath said she was happy that the administration was so receptive to this idea. She said that when the administration is informed of student concerns in a diplomatic way, they usually respond positively, and USG is looking forward to another year working together with Student Affairs in the hopes of improving the students’ experience at USC.
“I am especially impressed by Provost Quick’s leadership,” Sampath said. “I think that he is really ushering in a new era with how responding and how in touch he is with the students.”