Students not pleased with annual prank

Around 1 p.m. yesterday, about 50 students dressed in elaborate costumes congregated at Tommy Trojan, with hope of winning Coachella tickets.

A Facebook event had announced Program Board was giving away 10 Coachella tickets to those with the best costumes, either individuals or teams.

Punk’d · Davey Martinez, a junior majoring in music industry, dressed up to try to win tickets. The event was a prank created by Skull & Dagger, a semi-secret honors society. - Jaideep Chadha | Daily Trojan

But when the judges announced the winners, all of them turned out to be members of Skull & Dagger, a semi-secret honor society that annually pranks the university.

As the crowd looked around, upset and confused because the costume winners were all dressed in black overcoats, a large banner with a skull came down from the roof of the Student Union building across from Tommy Trojan, revealing the prank.

“I’m just really sad. I spent $80 on my entire costume,” said Nick Davis, a junior majoring in narrative studies and Russian.

Davis was wearing a wedding dress and veil to the event to try and win Coachella tickets.

Danielle Espinoza, the incoming executive director of Program Board, said the majority of Program Board members were unaware the event was a deception.

“I would like the students to know that this prank is not a reflection of Program Board,” Espinoza said. “All but a few members were completely unaware that this event was not legitimately related to the organization.”

Last year, Skull & Dagger members created a two-part prank. The members handed out coupons for free food at The Lot, a temporary dining facility at USC, for a fictional “Student Appreciation Day.”

The prank was not well received by USC Hospitality, however, which said the prank negatively impacted service.

Last year’s Skull & Dagger members also placed a stack of microwaves in front of Tommy Trojan as a tribute to former USC President Steven B. Sample.

There were mixed reactions from students who attended the costume contest thinking they could win a free Coachella ticket.

“I am very, very upset. This is kind of messed up. I spent $40 I didn’t have to make this happen,” said Davey Martinez, a junior majoring in music industry who dressed up in a complex balloon costume that covered most of his body. “Coachella is a little too big to mess around with people.”

Others thought the prank was funny.

“It’s a good joke and everyone is taking it too seriously,” said Chantae Reden, a sophomore majoring in political science.

Eric Ronan, a senior majoring in public relations and a member of Skull & Dagger, was pleased with how the prank went.

“We won,” he said.

Alisia Thompson, a senior majoring in neuroscience and a member of Skull & Dagger, had one word for students:

“No-chella,” Thompson said.

28 replies
  1. Amy
    Amy says:

    Sorry, but anyone that spent money on costumes, over-confidently ASSUMING they would win, kinda deserves it if you ask me.
    Even if it was a real contest, there was still a higher possibility of you losing than you winning.
    I feel for them because of the embarrassment that probably caused. But other than that, oh well.
    Counting your chickens before they hatched as grandma would say :) tough luck

  2. Anon.
    Anon. says:

    Honestly, congratulations Skull & Dagger for being on a campus of THOUSANDS and managing to prank just 50 people who really wanted to go to Coachella but couldn’t afford the tickets. Real classy. Getting people to dress up in silly costumes on campus is funny, but taking advantage of people who are broke and desperate is just a dick move. Also, your costumes were stupid.

    Props to the people who did come out and dress up, because there were some sick outfits for sure.

  3. Henry Moore
    Henry Moore says:

    Last years prank was irresponsible, this years was sadistic and childish. I would like to suggest a way to make it up to the people who were cheated. The people who designed this prank should be made to march around Tommy Trojan wearing Adult Diapers and sucking on pacifiers. While a kazoo band plays the old Romper Room Theme. All this as their clothes are sold at silent action to compensate the victims. We could all have a grand time cutting capers. I’m in for $20.

  4. Student at large
    Student at large says:

    In response to the USG member… Chris and Nehi and the whole USG organization has done a lot this year. All USG accomplished could not have been done without the relationships forged by Chris and Nehi with almost every administrator on campus. From an extra day off for Thanksgiving Break to the Greater LA excursion project, this has been a very effective administration. I talk to adminstrators all the time and they could not be more pleased with USG’s and Program Board’s results this year.

    Also, this was not related to USG or PB at all from my understanding…

  5. pb_alum
    pb_alum says:

    funny prank. wayyy better than s&d’s prank last year. the only thing I didn’t care for was having Program Board’s name attached to it. s&d members that are also apart of USG and Program Board should’ve known better…”should’ve” being the operative word.

  6. Ras
    Ras says:

    Wow – a phony contest – what creativity S&D!! You guys are like SOOOO funny. Did you guys all go back to your parents’ basement and hi five each other to an endless stream of “bros”.

    The only problem I have with these “pranks” is the lack of humor and staleness each year brings. You guys are a whoppi cushion away from zero ideas.

    I hope no one has been doing anything to the food you guys have been eating this past week either – such as “releasing” certain fluids into it – for that would not be funny either.

  7. Daddy Warbucks
    Daddy Warbucks says:

    I think USG are a bunhc of nerd bombs. The only thing more lame would be to create a secret soceity with a bunch of gdis


  8. USG Member
    USG Member says:

    Chris and Nehi are one big joke anyways, they have really taken USG to a new low during their time getting nothing done.

    Having been in USG for a long time, it saddens me that this was allowed to happen. In general people haven’t had vast amounts of respect for us to begin with, now Chris and Nehi have managed to destroy what little respect we did have, that we have worked years to obtain.

    Still, the guy that spent $40 he “didn’t have” has more serious problems he needs to figure out then in his life other than coping with the fact he won’t be going to coachella.

  9. lolboy
    lolboy says:

    Both sides are full of stupid people, this was hilarious to read

    1. People in the Skull and Daggers actually think people care about any pranks they have done

    2. The losers who think people care about they crying over Coachella tickets. And the fact that they even care about Coachella to begin with.

    This article made my day.

  10. anon
    anon says:

    s&d = misuse of student programming fees…something must be addressed..good prank but they used ur money that u are payin for programming..

    • No-chella
      No-chella says:

      For the record, No funds were used by the university or any funding boards to make the prank happen. This was from out of the pockets of the S&D members

  11. mmartinez
    mmartinez says:

    These people should consider themselves lucky. If they won, they would have had to go to Coachella, which means standing around for three days, listening to a bunch of has-been acts that our parents like (and a few mediocre ones from today), baking in the hot sun, paying $6 for water, surrounded by a bunch of people who are more self-important and self-satisfied than even the Skull & Dagger folks.

    Be glad you “lost,” guys. Coachella isn’t what it was in ’99 & the couple directly following. There are immeasurably better music festivals out there.

    • Mommy Dearest
      Mommy Dearest says:

      Ouch, lil’ mm. You remember how much you liked Duran Duran lullabies until your junior year in high school and now you have the audacity to put down mommy’s favorite band? Shame on you!

      • justmytwocents
        justmytwocents says:

        I thought the “mmartinez” comment was funny but I don’t quite get the follow-up.

        Also, these people look more like they were trying to win tickets to Burning Man than Coachella. Maybe the two should just merge since they’re equally lame and draw equally annoying crowds — albeit in different ways.

  12. elsa
    elsa says:

    a dick move, but i don’t expect much from the group in general; from what i’ve heard from previous members, s&d doesn’t do much besides plan the yearly prank, making it a largely self-congratulatory secret society. but props to the dt for covering this from all sides.

  13. lisa
    lisa says:

    In response to Heinrich, pranks are never nice and selfless. I thought this was a epic prank that will be remember in USC history. It capitalized on the hype surround Coachella and used that to pull of a legitimate prank at a grand level.

    • Anon.
      Anon. says:

      A grand level? They only pranked about 50 people on a huge campus…and most people who weren’t there didn’t even know about it until they heard from friends, etc because ppl were pissed about not getting tickets.

  14. Heinrich
    Heinrich says:

    I’m all for a good prank, but this was just mean and self-satisfied. I’d never even heard of Skull and Dagger before, but I’ve lost any respect for them.

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