President Nikias addresses Halloween shooting

In a statement posted Thursday, USC President C. L. Max Nikias addressed the shootings that occurred on campus and assured parents and students of USC’s continued safety.

Nikias wrote that the individuals involved in the shooting were not affiliated with the university. USC’s policy allows student parties to be open to USC students and students from other colleges with a college ID.

Nikias did, however, say that the university will review this policy in light of Wednesday’s incidents.

“We are now carefully assessing and reviewing all of the university’s policies regarding visitors and events held on campus,” he wrote.

He continued to say that USC is still a safe campus, calling the risk of on-campus crimes like the shooting “very low.”

“I want to personally assure you that the university mobilized all its resources in responding to this incident, and worked closely with Los Angeles Police Department in ensuring our students’ safety,” Nikias wrote.

Nikias also acknowledged safety concerns stemming from Wednesday’s shooting and other incidents, such as the off-campus shooting last year that killed international graduate students Ying Wu and Ming Qu.

“All of us have been shaken by serious incidents this year,” Nikias wrote. “Despite these events, or indeed because of them, we must continue to support each other as members of the Trojan Family.”


37 replies
  1. trojan man
    trojan man says:

    they need to guard every gate especially at night. anyone can just walk into the campus from the north. its laughable how lax it is.

    • Alumnus and Donor
      Alumnus and Donor says:

      @Ryan – if you’re a student, without donors you wouldn’t have a building to type that hack on.
      Care to publish your credentials, or are you a student at a UC or CS school?

      • Ryan
        Ryan says:

        1) I am a current student at USC.
        2) USC has billions in the bank and your $1,000 tax deductible donation means nothing.
        3) You are obviously a bitter fat old man.

  2. Recent Grad '12
    Recent Grad '12 says:

    Dear “Alumnus and Donor”:

    When I talk about East Coast campuses, it’s because I know what I am talking about. I was accepted to U Chicago, Columbia, Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which was probably the least safe of them all. Despite these offers, I chose to come to USC and would still do so any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I made this decision based on the fact that none of the aforementioned choices have what this one does: The Trojan Family. As cliché as that sounds, that was the reason. You keep citing this incident as if this is the only one that has occurred in the last 10 years. The reality is that this is the fourth shooting incident in the area surrounding USC within the last seven months. In every single one of those incidents someone was injured or, in the case of our two grad students, murdered. Look, I’m far what anyone would consider a “sheltered” person. I’ve seen things growing up in my old neighborhood that I hope no one ever has to see. With that being said, these are too many incidents to just consider them “isolated cases.” As for what I think the administration should do, I don’t have all of the answers nor do I claim to. For starters however, I feel that “donors” just as yourself should demand answers from a university administration who overlooked the organization of this event. Let’s be frank Sir: By donating money to this institution, you are making an investment in its future. I can assure you that these shootings are not great for the reputation of this institution, and are putting your “investment” at risk. I think that with relation to this incident, those responsible for the oversight of this incident should be either repremanded or excused from their employment with USC. With regards to the surrounding area, USC should expand its DPS perimeter to include Walton Ave, Budlong Ave., etc. These are areas where large amounts of students live. Install DPS command centers there along with “blue light” systems. USC should also think about expanding the radius that “campus cruiser” covers to include these areas as well. These changes should improve the situation until USC can accommodate more student housing when it rebuilds the UV across from campus. My suggestions may not be perfect, but hey, it’s a start. With relation to keeping campus open, I agree however with limitations. The parties of your parents’ time are long gone and extremely different my friend. With all of that being said, I will always remain faithful to USC because of how good it was to me. Fight On!

      • Alumnus and Donor
        Alumnus and Donor says:

        You have good suggestions and I have little argument with your comments. I do want to refine your view that some are “overlooking” university policy or shortcomings. I feel the reverse. In fact, the scrutiny is significant and the university leadership is very focused on addressing these issues. While I am not directly involved with those boards, the university’s learning environment is the highest priority for any academic administrator. This is true at USC and any institution of higher learning.

        By the way, I was accepted at several east coast universities also, including Ivy League. I also selected USC because of the USC family. That Trojan family is the financial engine which fuels the privacy of the university and has long standing commitment to it.

  3. Recent Grad '12
    Recent Grad '12 says:

    I agree, which is why BSA or any other organization should be held accountable for their actions. I also agree that non-USC people should not be allowed to USC social events. In my four years here, I never saw an armed individual run to an academic or resumé buliding workshop.

  4. Recent Grad '12
    Recent Grad '12 says:

    I will always remain faithful to both USC and the Trojan Family, but this incident and the other three that have happend around campus within the past year is truly disheartening. With tuition hovering around $60,000 a year, the last thing that SC students or any other students for that matter should be worrying about is having to dodge bullets while they’re on campus. Other prestigious universities around the county are located in “urban” areas (U Chicago, Columbia, Yale, Berkeley) yet don’t seem to have this many problems. I along with just about every other members of the Trojan Family are tired of hearing “No USC students were involved” as a sign that everything is okay. Some people are trying to racialize this issue by saying that this was a BSA sponsored event. I personally don’t care if it was the Black, Latino, Asian, Greek or any other student organization who sponsored this event, they must answer for their decisions! At what point is the administration going to decide to do something? In the unfortunate event that another USC student is seriously injured or killed? Please do not allow this university lose the hard fought ground that it has gained as a prestigious academic institution by not making the necessary changes to campus security and its policies. USC has been in this area of Los Angeles since 1880 and does not have to answer to the community, nor open the campus to the community for these types of events. President Nikias, you pride yourself on attracting the best and brightest students to come to campus and your administration is failing to protect them. Please tell me you have something better to say than “USC is still a safe campus.”

    • Concerned Student
      Concerned Student says:

      The reason people are pointing out that this was a BSA event is that this would not have happened at a regular fraternity party, and the administration should have taken the risks into account before signing off on this party. I’m not saying the BSA shouldn’t be able to have parties, they just shouldn’t be allowed to invite hundreds of non-USC students to an on-campus party.

    • Alumnus and Donor
      Alumnus and Donor says:

      @Recent Grad ’12
      Your assumption is incorrect.
      USC is one of the safest campuses in Southern California, until this event occurred.

      While I agree with your call for administration to “do something”, what exactly would like the administration to actually do?

      Have you actually been to East Coast campuses?

      Have you ever looked at New Haven, Connecticut?

      What about touring the major east coast medical schools? The neighborhoods around east coast medical schools and some universities are far worse than USC’s.

      This doesn’t negate your call for administration to take a strong position, but again what is that position you are suggesting?

      I believe that the university needs to remain an open campus and to hold events that are open.

  5. ras
    ras says:

    Here is a quote from Nikias’s statement ‘…Although this incident did not involve USC students and was resolved quickly,…”

    So i guess he does not consider 4 people getting gunned down in the middle of the campus at the STUDENT CENTER to be something that involves USC students. Why does USC always bother to make this stupid point? Do they believe stray bullets will continue to magically stop and consider student ID in the future? YOU HAD AN ATTEMPTED MURDER ON CAMPUS LAST NIGHT!!!!!! Don’t insult people’s intelligence by trying to sugar coat the fact USC is in the middle of a jungle ghetto

  6. Jack
    Jack says:

    Nikias disgraced himself with this blatantly inaccurate response. In truth, half an hour passed before the school warned anyone. SC is incredibly lucky that no students were hurt.

    It’s pretty clear that public safety is not something the current administration takes seriously. 2 dead graduate students and now gunfire on campus…what is it going to take for changes to be made?

    • another USC parent
      another USC parent says:


      Change has taken place. By now, through eye witness reports, social media and the excellent reporting of the Daily Trojan and Neon Tommy it is known:

      1. The advance information published by the promotors inviting non-students for a fee violated USC policy. USC admins were asleep at the wheel–no one noticed.

      2. The perpetrator was not immediately apprehended as President Nikias indicated in his only response to the tragedy.

      3. Students were not immediately notified, but notified 29 minutes later.

      What has changed, markedly, are judgements regarding President Nikias’ leadership ability and motivation in providing disinformation in his only response to the Trojan community and larger community. He has created a serious breach of trust and introduced unnecessary additional anxiety for many wondering who, if anyone, is in charge.

      I am heartened that the students and parents have demonstrated constructive concern. The USC student media have provided the leadership and essential information absent thus far from the administration and are to be commended.

      With all due respect to President Nikias, some breeches of trust cannot be repaired. I hope by this point President Nikias, the USC administration and trustees appreciate the seriousness and depth of these concerns and shortcomings.

  7. C.A.Logan
    C.A.Logan says:

    As parents of a freshman- the above comments do not inspire much confidence in the University and we have to concur that the official response is weak and clearly unsupported by some of the students reports.

    USC has an absolute obligation to make the safety of students the number one priority. No parent should have to get a call with such terrible news. Regardless of the students status- this happened on campus and any number of kids could have been hurt. This is not the first incident and despite security presence- students were not safe.

    From descriptions given by students the building was over capacity and the spillover outside may have been too many people to control.
    Furthermore- when I tried to call Student Affairs from the East Coast- the usual office hours were in effect and when I did get through I was told everyone was in a meeting. No one cares about press releases or damage control. You have a student body from all over the world and there needs to be a system in place the minute something happens to respond to parents questions and concerns. I was horrified by the light tone of the person I spoke to-
    This is serious USC- Every parent wants to trust that their child is safe. We want to understand how this happened and what measures will be taken next. Do not waste time “reviewing your policies”. This is not about changing the menu in the dining hall.
    I urge every parent in the community to stay on this issue until better protective systems are in place.

    • George
      George says:

      Hell, I’m not even a parent (but recent grad), and I’m going to stay on this. This is an embarrassment for our university that was billed as safe less than six months ago. Off-campus incidents happen in our area, but at an event sanctioned and promoted by the BSA to non-students that causes this is unacceptable. Not to mention university policy was violated.

  8. ras
    ras says:

    First of all – I want to know WHO ultimately signed off on this party at Tutor Hall – the epicenter of campus. Give us a name and show you guys at USC believe in accountability.

    Second – I think if Hurricane Sandy hit the West Coast and flooded the entire campus – as long as all students, staff and employees stayed away and did not get wet, USC’s spin would be that a “non-USC flood” took place. Stray bullets do not stop and check for student ID. The fact is, USC is in the ghetto. Listen up parents – just think of all the predators in the ghetto who know your kids are probably carrying around at least a few $100’s of computers, ipads, cellphones on them. Like ripe fruit for hungry animals. And our politically correct City Council, mayor, LAPD and DPS are too cowardly to deal with this head on. I am sure the thugs know this as well.

    Third – after the self entitled douche at UCLA who refused to show ID when confronted by campus security a few years ago – we have basically turned ourselves into a society that can feel they can blow off the instructions of an officer and then sue if met with force. Well congrats everyone. Now any thug can feel they can wonder around on your campus and if asked for ID then they can play the race card and claim they are being profiled. You got what you asked for – the inability for security to ask for ID and then forcible remove a person if they refuse.

    • another USC parent
      another USC parent says:


      Neon Tommy and The Trojan have been an excellent resources for providing information not forthcoming yet from the administration. Here is some information from Neon Tommy that may be a starting point for addressing your concerns:

      “After numerous calls—and in-person requests—for comment to university officials, Vice President for Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson sent the media an email saying the following:

      …The event in question was approved as an exception to the university’s date and time requirements because no alcohol was to be served and to allow the student group to hold an event on Halloween.”

  9. teresa spangler
    teresa spangler says:

    As a parent I agree wholeheartedly with the above. I am tired of the Universities response to incidents of violence near and now ON campus. It doesn’t matter to me that the shooters nor victims were not students. Our children could easily be caught in the crossfire.
    Instead of a new mall, how about fencing around the school? Why not install metal detectors? As the student pointed out above, he was free to come and go on campus, no one checked him for ID.They cannot go too far in keeping our kids safe. I noticed an LA Times poll this afternoon showing 77% of the people answering the survey felt there needs to be more security around USC. I don’t think we should be placated with weak letters such as the President’s this afternoon. We parents must speak out together. I encourage all of you to write, email or call the University. You can’t call this an “isolated incident” when it is the third very violent crime on or near campus in about six months.
    Many of us are making enormous sacrifices to send our children to USC. I don’t think they can go too far to increase security. I have a second child applying to college this fall, and I don’t think I will have him apply to USC. I have defended the campus to detractors who say it is in a dangerous neighborhood. In the past, I’d say “It’s not so bad”.. But watching my daughter’s campus featured in a story on the national news this morning, I’m not making that statement anymore.

    • Alumnus and Donor
      Alumnus and Donor says:

      To Teresa,
      I’m not involved with USC administration but I am a lifelong Trojan, recent donor to the University, and alumnus.
      The events last night are an unfortunate reflection of many universities across our nation and are not a reflection of USC’s administrative policies nor the students of the university.
      While I understand your concern, your suggestions appear to reflect a lack of personal experience at the university campus.
      For one thing, the USC campus is already ringed with a fence. In times past, the surrounding community felt ostracized by USC due to the presence of the fence. Your call for “fencing around the school” suggests that you are not familiar with the campus itself.
      Secondly, your call for metal detectors is ridiculous. All university campuses are open and are not secured like the TSA secures an airport. For that matter, do you seriously argue that TSA has made flying any more secure with it’s backscatter detectors providing LAX TSA a nude photo of your daughter? I can not concurr with your supposition of increased security due to the presence of metal detectors and I can not agree with the insertion of such scanning technologies at your hypothetical gates.
      I spent nearly ten years involved with USC as a high school student, student, and graduate student. During the LA riots I was a student at USC. USC was clearly secured down and no USC facilities or personnel were impacted.

      During several incidents while I was a student at USC, there were armed attacks at LA County medical center. Through cooperation between LA Sheriff’s Department and USC Security, the students were secured and protected by armed law enforcement.

      During several when I was a student at USC, there were events in the surrounding community where LA helicopters were flown over campus and around campus to assist in patrol and securing facilities.

      I am quite confident that USC and the LA County law enforcement community excel at containing situations like those last night. In fact, the fact that no USC students were involved should give you pause to credit the university security team that isolated the event and the local law enforcement personnel who also secured the suspects.

      But, instead, you chose to launch criticism at the university. Instead, I would respectfully suggest that you aim your criticism at the gun toting suspects and instead of the people who apprehended them.

      Speaking more frankly, I find it amazing that students are so entitled that a 29 minute delay in notification becomes problematic. When I was living at Marks, Pardee, Webb, and Fluor, there was no social media, no web, and only the local RA (resident advisor) to knock on my door. Are you seriously so entitled that you expect the USC Board of Directors to personally send you a letter when every incident occurs? If it is that important to you, perhaps you might want to donate a few thousand dollars to help set up the system yourself?

      While I understand the security concern, I do not understand the vindictive nature of the vitriol aimed at USC.

      The need for improved security is always real, but seriously arguing that you are entitled to more explanation based upon your hard work in sending your child to USC? I worked my way through USC and had USC scholarships too. Your posting is demeaning!

      There’s plenty of other kids from Southern California who want to attend USC and are not concerned about the security on campus.

      • Anonymous
        Anonymous says:

        Two points of issue:

        (1) Your statement that “[t]he events . . . are not a reflection of USC’s administrative policies nor the students of the university” is incorrect. There are lots of details to come about the approval process for this event, but rest assured that it represents a systemic management failure.

        (2) Your remark that students should not be upset about having to wait 29 minutes for information is ill-informed. My father had to use a slide rule when he was in school; I get a calculator. Times (and expectations) change.

        • Alumnus and Donor
          Alumnus and Donor says:

          On point 1 – feel free to publish. As a donor and alumnus, I am interested in stewardship and leadership having appropriate oversight. However, I’m also fed up with entitlements and the lack of individual responsibility in our community. We’re USC and pay our own way. We don’t look to have dependency on others for our own safety. I take my own safety into my own control. As such, USC’s community and campus is no different than any other collegiate campus across the United States. We’re just as susceptible to violent crime and just as responsible for maintaining the safety of students. If you think “systemic management failure” is occurring, I am all ears on the system, the management, and the allegation of failure. But, not one of the comments posted appropriately singles out the criminal who carried a concealed weapon, discharged the weapon into another human being, and then attempted to run. There is more to this story than finger pointing at an administrative process. If you seriously believe that an administrative process could improve and proactively intervene prior to commission of violent crime, you are deluded. This is not Minority Report nor should we permit the USC campus to become San Quentin.

          2. My remark about entitlement is not ill-informed. Times may change but human behavior does not. You’ll have to explain why a 29 minute information flow is upsetting. Do you expect to have information in seconds? minutes? How many? The point is that it’s idiotic to expect the security teams to have precise information while they are still trying to get information on what is occurring themselves. Has it occurred to you that social media blares information without that information going through a check and balance? Has it occurred to you that USC Security could end up sending a false alarm IF the information is not clearly vetted and that the vetting of that information takes time???

          • Anonymous
            Anonymous says:

            1. All I will say here is that Jackson’s statement that the event was “approved as an exception” is a lie or, at the very least, is incredibly disingenuous; the event was not supposed to be approved, yet it was because (multiple) people messed up along the way. Nikias’ announcement next week will seek to rectify this, even if the problem itself is not explicitly acknowledged. I find this system of dealing with problems like this internally inherently flawed—there is no accountability, and there should (and can) be.

            2. Of course information should be vetted. That said, a 29-minute delay for a message that states that a suspect is “at large” is out of step with our (i.e., students’) era. We can argue about whether it is more damaging for information that is not fully vetted to be shared, but, in this case, the information was pretty clear immediately. Precise information wasn’t needed here. Just a note and a location to stay away from. Anyone who has ever seen a movie knows that sound. The issue is, once again, systemic. If you’re a big donor, make a push on that—how do the alerts get sent? What’s the process? What’s the ETA after they’re sent? All interesting points….

      • Not a happy parent
        Not a happy parent says:

        I read your response to Teresa and It appears that you must work for USC. I am the parent of a freshman and I am completely up in arms about how this was allowed to happen. Yes, I agree with you about the fencing because we do have an open campus. I do not know if adding fencing or metal detectors is the answer but here is what I do believe- this event should not have been allowed on campus-period. USC and the event coordinators had to known that people would show up intoxicated and/or high since they told people to leave all substances behind at a certain point. Nothing good comes from that many people showing up to a night club, already wasted.
        How can you say that 29 minutes it not too long for our students to be alerted? Althouugh you were not fortunate enough to have this media available to you.. it is something that they push to parents as one of the measures they take to keep our students safe. When they promise us they would be alerted “immeditately” they need to keep to this promise. My daughter lives in the pardee dorm and I know for a fact that she and her and friends were not comfortable with all of these non-students coming onto campus.. already drunk.. not acting like students. So uncomfortable that after being excited to be on campus for Halloweeen, stayed in their dorms. Luckily, she was not in the vicinity of this event and was already indoors. It could have easilly been her that was hit by a stray bullet. The whole problem is that our beloved USC should not have allowed this event to take place.. point closed. No good was coming out of this party and it was unfair to the kids who live on campus to have so many strangers in their backyard. I was so upset by the letter from the president. The fact that no students were injured, does not make it ok. I am sure they cannot admit they are wrong in the letter or admit any wrong-doing but I hope that they do eventually. Although I am confident that the school will make some changes, I do feel this could have been avoided.

        • Alumnus and Donor
          Alumnus and Donor says:

          Dear “not happy”,
          If you actually read my comments, you would see that I neither work for the university nor work at the university. As stated in my response, I am a proud USC donor and alumnus.

          You need to review my comments instead of making incorrect assumptions.

          In my previous comments, I was responding to a parent who clearly has not been to the campus. Honestly, can you build walls and gates any higher around a school without it looking like East Berlin? I think USC has done a superb job of both maintaining a collegiate architecture while securing the campus.

          There has been little information published by DT regarding the event. However, it appears to me that the incident did not even occur at the Tudor Event Center. It occurred by one report 100 yards away from the Center, which would mean that it didn’t occur at the Tudor Center at all!

          Regarding your stance on the party, what in the world does that party have to do with the shooting? Was the criminal actually invited by the BSA group? Somehow, I doubt it. Do you have some information that the criminal was partying in the building with the BSA group and then suddenly popped his caps? Somehow, I doubt that is the actual scenario also. My guess is that the peabrain crook uncorked his weapon at some distance from Tudor Center but that for some reason the media latched onto the name Tudor Center based upon needing an easy story line. I know journalists and they’ll run with that type of story line even before they have the facts checked. It obvious that the fact checking hasn’t occurred because Tudor center’s front patio is only about 20 yards at the most.

          It is quite easy to say that USC should not have allowed this event. But, as a student at USC for many years, I hosted many events on campus. The campus proceeds with the assumption of trust and relationships. It does not proceed on the assumption that a violent crime is about to occur. It is a good thing that USC proceeds with the assumption of trust because that trust is what builds the ability to collaborate and innovate. If you have a social structure based upon mistrust and skepticism, you’ll kill innovation and destroy the academic environment.

          As I stated previously, there were several incidents during my time at USC. Looking back, I did feel uncomfortable with those incidents, but I also trusted the USC security and LA County and LA City law enforcement personnel to control the situation. In this case, just like the others, not only did the local law enforcement personnel handle the situation, they got the perpetrators involved.

          Short of closing campus, installing metal detectors, and halting all social gatherings, what criteria would be used to “not have allowed this event to take place”?

          My own parents met at a USC hosted dance many decades ago. So, are we saying that non-USC students are no longer permitted on campus?

          The overreaction is knee jerk. This is an isolated case. And, I disagree with the assertion that USC could have avoided the incident. For pete’s sake people, USC’s administration had no relationship with the assailant! They didn’t know the criminal as a student or staff. Therefore, how could Nikias or any member of the BoD do anything about this event?

          If they declined Black Student Assembly, what would the basis of the rejection be? That it’s a “Black” event and therefore shouldn’t meet on “our” campus? Is that really what some “people” are trying to say here? Such a suggestion is appalling.

          Yes, I’ll go there…and don’t run from the discussion either “parent”. I’ll say it because I’m not afraid of discussing the race card in the context of USC.

          USC is one of the premiere universities of the nation. USC has one of the longest histories in the United States of America of bringing opportunity to EVERY person REGARDLESS of ethnicity. USC has a diverse leadership team, student body, and academic teaching cadre. You can go across every department in every school at USC and find people of EVERY walk of life, culture, religion, skin color, and political perspective. That is what an international institution of higher learning is about…diversity of opinion and maturity of discussion.

          The diversity of USC is its very strength. USC is not in 1960’s Alabama and 1950’s Arkansas. USC consistently gives people opportunity based upon merit not race. USC should be applauded for these progressive positions which help build the future of California.

          For those parents so distressed, USC has more security procedures than most communities in America. USC’s security personnel consistently protect the students. I see USC Security personnel accompanying the athletic teams and spirit units while those teams and units are in movement to and from university events.

          You refer to your “children” in your comments, but may I point out that your “children” are adults? They are adults when they enter the campus and are responsible for their own choices on campus and off, which is the point people are making. You make your own choices. My point above was that some parents are acting like the “empty nest” needs to be filled. LA is a big city. If you want small town learning, there are plenty of liberal arts schools in small college towns to fit the need. But, I did not want to learn about things at a small liberal arts town. I wanted to learn at the big time university that leads in many areas.

          I can say that USC did more to protect my interests than I even realized when I was student at USC. I can only hope that the same processes are in place twenty years later. I believe that they are.

          USC’s administration clearly has a role to play regarding safety of facilities, personnel, and clearly students. But, do you seriously think that walling off the campus from “outsiders” can be effectively legislated?

          And, yes, I meant what I said above. If someone doesn’t think that USC is doing enough, you can always pull your support and go to Pepperdine or UCLA. Given the decades history involved with philanthropy in Southern Califronia, USC certainly has teamed with the most philanthropic leaders to build the premier campus in Southern California. I’m proud of the work that these people have done. I’m offended that some would attempt to tear that work down based upon the action of a lone gunman.

          Do the frazzled mothers here seriously believe that UC Irvine, Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, or Pepperdine are any less vulnerable to violent crime than USC? Do you seriously argue that USC’s Board of Directors or executive management are responsible to know that a violent criminal unknown to the university (i.e. neither student nor staff) carries a concealed weapon at midnight and discharges it at a midnight event and then notify the student body on campus in a shorter amount of time than 29 minutes?

          Firstly, I’d be outraged if I had a daughter walking campus at midnight. For crying out loud, it’s LA and its dark at midnight. It shouldn’t take a USC education to figure out that LA at midnight is not that safe.

          Secondly, if I had a student who was at a party at midnight instead of getting ready for 8 AM classes, I’d be more upset with the fact that they were not being responsible first.

          Thirdly, at 11:40 PM on a college weeknight, I was stuck in the library still trying to figure out chemical reactions, memorize that damn biochemistry professor’s last 3 lectures, and then trying to review the impact of Citizen Kane on Hollywood. My 2 AM to 4 AM assignment was attempting to complete a review on the development of economic zones in Eastern China. If someone tried to reach me from 8 PM to 1 AM , I was never reachable. I was so buried in the work that even if cell phones existed at the time, I doubt that the coverage would have been existant. Does USC have wireless networks installed across campus? How would a student in their dorm at Pardee even know what was going on at the Lyon Center? And, how does USC Administration notify tens of thousands about a security event without causing undue panic and creating more issues in the process of notification?

          I remain very surprised at the outrage regarding this 29 minute process. I can not legitimately see how the information could be obtained, vetted, and dispensed any faster.
          Instead of hurling insults and asking for an inquiry, shouldn’t we be thinking about how to protect ourselves first and how to protect our neighbors second from violent criminals having nothing to do with USC in first place?

          Or, are we really just looking for justification to express parental angst regarding the empty nest?

          FIGHT ON!

          • Anonymous
            Anonymous says:

            Look, you can see my comments to the above post about the 29-minute thing. Let me just say this—try as you might, you won’t be able to understand my (or other students’) position on it. Our perspectives are just too different, and you will not be able to empathize with the addiction to information that we have. For better or worse, though, USC must face students who have expectations different from yours.

            And nice rah-rah for USC in the middle of your post. Let’s be real—some of what you said was false. We all know about VKC’s inclinations in the 1930s/1940s. Coincidental that he left in 1947? I think not.

          • Alumnus and Donor
            Alumnus and Donor says:

            @Anonymous –
            If you honestly think the political leanings of VKC is relevant to USC 2012, you’re really grasping at straws. Most of the USC alumni and donor base are not major donors. Most are small time donors and alumni who genuinely care about the university.

            The reason I started posting on this thread was to balance out DT’s coverage from the stand point of just one alumnus who has doubled back to the university and is sending financially to the university.

            Since the questions I raised were not answered by you, one can only surmise that either you just don’t like the facts or that you don’t actually have an answer to the questions. In either case, the debate is over.

            Fight on.

  10. Student in Awe
    Student in Awe says:

    I was in Leavey Library at the time of the shooting. For those of you who don’t know campus, it’s a stone’s throw away from VKC (where one of the victims was treated) and about a 3 minute walk from the Campus Center. We suddenly see the ambulances and fire trucks storm through McCarthy quad and know something is up. Of course, our generation immediately heads to Twitter to find the most up-to-date information. A shooting at Campus Center. The suspect has fled on foot.

    29 minutes later we receive an alert (I received mine ten minutes later than a peer next to me.) “A shooting was reported in the area of the campus center. Shelter in place and avoid opening doors.”

    Let me reiterate, 29 minutes later!

    I could have walked, (or worse, the suspect at large) back and forth from the campus center to Leavey Library 10 times before I’d even be notified by the “Trojan Alert” system. Let’s take a frightening flashback to the Virginia Tech shooting of last year. 33 killed in a University Library.

    Don’t you think USC/LAPD should have sent an officer to stand in front of the main library entrance?
    Or how about give a short address on the PA loudspeaker ensuring our safety?
    How about any instructions at all?

    Nothing. Not a word. Not a security guard/DPS officer/LAPD officer in sight. In fact, I walked in and out of the library without my ID even being checked twice between 11-2am. I’m glad that they are using the PA system efficiently to make sure we secure our bikes to the racks, but not to tell us that we are safe inside and to stay put. Some students stayed while others left. At 2am, Twitter reports said the suspect was caught but the campus was still on “Lockdown.” I walked to my car and drove off without a DPS guard checking my ID, or even asking me pull down my window. Could the shooter/other members of his gang been in the car behind me fleeing? Who knows?

    I’m not a complainer. In fact, I’ve never written on the Daily Trojan forum in 4 years here. But last night USC did not do its job of making me feel secure. They sent late vague text alerts, abandoned me and my peers with no direction, and lost a lot of my trust. Last week LAPD cited me $300 for Jaywalking. I think they should get their priorities in order…

    My sympathies go out to the victims and I wish them a speedy recovery.

    Let me reiterate. I love USC. I love the Trojan Family. I wouldn’t trade my decision to go here for all the money in the world. But last night, USC, you betrayed me. If only I was hungrier and wanted to grab a bite from one of the campus center eateries an hour before. If only.

    • Please..
      Please.. says:


      It would be helpful to take note of what was involved: the individual, the perpetrator was someone that willfully took a gun to a place, with the will and mind to inflict harm and death. The perp shot the victim 7 times, with shots lodged to the chest. This criminal was willing to inflict death on another person (and we are all lucky that nothing like that happened).

      As much of the criticism posted here has its place, we have to be aware that the problem resides with the disturbed person that was willing to murder another person. That person could enact their rage and their violence at any time and onto anyone and with anything. The point is USC, the administration of USC and any other constituency has no responsibility in the “perp being a murderer!”

      No amount of shrill behavior, no amount of anger, no amount of recriminations is going to undo whatever made this person a murderer, willing to inflict harm on others. No amount of prevention, modification to life’s environment is going to be full-proof to prevent such a person enacting their willful desire to harm another.

      Where does the blame end? Do we blame the community for allowing such a person to freely drive within miles of the campus? Do we blame the city for allowing such a miscreant to reside within its borders? What about the state or the country? Where does the line get drawn?

      Because there are no lines! No one surreptitiously is going to “mark” such a person and throw him out! There is no way to “read the mind” of such persons. You can take away the gun and you can not invite him, but that does not mean such a person will not still show up some day with the same will to murder!

      Yes, to the criticism regarding the management of the event and associated policies. But NO to the anger directed at the administration. That anger should be directed to someone that is selfish and depraved and willing to harm and if possible, murder another person. That person deserves ALL the anger!

      • Alumnus and Donor
        Alumnus and Donor says:

        I heartily agree with the statement above.

        It’s time we take responsibility ourselves and allow the legal process to hold the perpetrators who did this to the victims and USC accountable.

        Fight on!

        • Please..
          Please.. says:

          Thanks for replying to my comment. Sorry that you have some surly and ugly comments posted to your thoughtful analysis. Interesting and telling that ugly behavior is moderated and posted!

          Additionally, I constructed another comment that was careful and added value to the argument and was in no way ugly toward another person but reflective of the events and added more analysis.

          THAT comment was deleted.

          So we keep ugly comments that take no time to write. And moderate and delete comments that are constructive. So you have ugly people commenting with rude, thoughtless behavior and acceptance of it by the moderators.

    LIVID PARENT says:

    Mr. Nikias, this seems to be beyond your abilities. You need someone in charge here to take accountability. I for one am waiting for something besides “We Must Continue to Support Each Other as Members of the Trojan Family” You are losing my support Mr. Nikias. I suggest you decide what’s more important: your committment to your students or your committment to the outsiders. If you continue to blur the line between usc and “the Neighborhood” maybe you should look for another job. There is a distinct difference between those that pay your salary and those that do not.

    • Alumnus and Donor
      Alumnus and Donor says:

      Care to explain your definition of “outsiders”?

      Can you also explain your definition of “blur the line between USC and “the Neighborhood”?

      Given that I am a donor, are you?

      • Anonymous
        Anonymous says:

        I’ll define if for him: “outsiders” are the people who don’t pay to feel safe on USC’s campus. You love to claim that you’re a donor—I hope you’re important enough to effect some change in the management here. Regardless of silly terms like “the neighborhood” (I still haven’t seen it, since I’ve never walked south of the Coliseum, east of Figueroa, or norther of Adams and I’ve been west of Vermont more than three times in four years), questioning to whom USC is accountable is valid. I’d say it’s the people who give it money. Maybe you disagree. If so, I hope you don’t bother to vote on Tuesday. (Sorry for the ad hominem attack—I couldn’t resist.)

        Also—you used “given” poorly. Read some formal logic books. They’re fun.

        • Alumnus and Donor
          Alumnus and Donor says:

          Cheap shots and no answers to the questions posed.
          You should drop your logic book and go find a debate coach.
          You’ve lost your argument because you don’t have supportable comments to off set the questions I raised.

          Are you even really a USC student?

      • Another Current Trojan
        Another Current Trojan says:

        Alumus and Donor,

        Thank you for your donations to the university. It is clear that you are passionate about being a Trojan, as are many of the current students who are responding to this article.

        You are from a different generation than we are — as someone has already pointed out — and our expectations of response to events like shootings in the middle of campus appears to be quite different. We have grown up in a technological age of instantaneous information. Not only did the administration fail in the amount of time it took to alert students (I did not even receive a text from Trojan Alerts, which I am signed up for. Thankfully people I was with did), but President Nikias is failing us in his lies and lack of transparency.

        I agree with the livid parent. I am a livid student. In my time at USC, there have been two students murdered by gunfire, another shot through the hand, and now an actual shooting occurring on campus. This is all within the last year and a half. I would think that the off-campus shootings would have urged the administration towards more stringent on-campus policies, but all signs point to “no.” Lots of people are dismissing this as an isolated incident. I hope it is, but I don’t see how you can necessarily say that when the event occurred two days ago. Yes, it was the shooter who actually shot the gun, but he should not have been on-campus wielding a gun at 11:30pm on a week night. There’s no reason for him to have been here.

        Your being a donor does not give your opinion more authority than those of us who are currently studying at the university. And actually, the people you are condescending towards do give a significant chunk of money to the university each year — at this point it hovers around $60,000.

        I understand that you think the administration is doing everything in its power to keep us safe. I don’t agree with you. As someone else sort of discussed, we are written up for riding our bikes inadvertently on the wrong side of the street or yelled at for being on the wrong part of Trousdale: I think safety priorities are a little out of whack.

        • Alumnus and Donor
          Alumnus and Donor says:

          I do not frankly care if you think I am looking for “more authority” because I am not. Your raising that straw man is a obfuscation of the discussion. You might be feeling like you are attempting to curry the favor of any reader, but you are not.

          Not only do I stand on the assertion regarding USC’s consistent and long-term commitment to achievement based merit, but I also would like to assert that the underlying racial overtone in the discussion is highly inappropriate. Hence, my commentary posted above is made without any retraction. USC is without question among the institutions in the United States that has consistently focused on merit based reward and open academic discussion regardless of ethnicity.

          If you really need to question it, just look at your alumni and the football fans opposite your student section at the games. There’s a multi-ethnic crowd in the Coliseum and I’m not talking about the ticket holders near the score board. I’m talking about the donor section at mid field! Those people are multi ethnic, professional, trained, show up early, get a fast start, and mean what we say.

          If you guys think a 29 minute lag between an event and a text based notification was too slow, go investigate it and post the solution. Whining about the delay and claiming that you were in the library and should have been told is ridiculous. If you are a USC student, you should be posting the answer to the problem as a recommendation. Instead, I see cheap shots at the administration, claims that parents want to pull their kids, and then claims that a generation gap exists. Oh really? If you feel that way about it, go to UCLA and sit in a class room of 3 times too many students with professors who are disgruntled and underpaid.

          I also do not believe that your opinion is any less or more valuable than mine. The fact that you attempt this argument shows a complete lack of debate skill, hardly Trojan. Sorry if I sound like a law professor or a debate coach, but if we’re going to be running our keyboards off about the university, please do argue the point instead of attempting to make me a straw man.

          The attitude that has sprouted on DT’s bulletin board regarding this shooting is the most troublesome, condescending and inappropriate comments that I’ve seen in my 25 years as a Trojan.

          The reality is that USC has consistently and clearly stood for merit based academics and advancement.

          Attempting to paint the responses here as being “student” versus “administration” is frankly absurd. Both student body and administration have a common interest with regards to campus security. Has it ever occurred to you that violent crime in major metropolitan cities has been an issue for 60 years? Is this rate of violent crime really much different than 20 years ago?

          My answer to you is simple. It’s no. NO, the violent crime rate is not much different in LA than NYC, Washington DC, Baltimore, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, or Boston. You can talk New Haven and Yale, Cambridge and Harvard, Palo Alto and Stanford, or Pasadena and Cal Tech. If you want that environment, go to it.

          I have not given a “bye week” to USC Admin. They have clearly already responded to these threats and are continuing to escalate response.

          Current students at USC have much to be concerned about, and their personal safety should be understood to be the highest priority for USC leadership.

          In talking with other university donors in the past weekend, it is clear that USC security has significantly tightened since Halloween. In fact, I know donors who had to give their names and information at the guard gates. It’s frankly sad that USC has to close its walls and gates like a kingdom protecting those inside from outside the moat.

          Earlier in this thread, I challenged others to post their suggestion on how to legislate the events better. I have neither seen a comment in response nor seen an answer on legislation.

          I stand by my comments.

          USC is by far one of the fairest and best universities in the nation when it comes to being focused on the abilities and behavior of individuals.

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