University announces new safety policies for spring semester

The Dept. of Public Safety, along with Student Affairs, plans to implement new security measures related to entering the University Park Campus and residential halls, effective the beginning of the 2013 spring semester.

Though the Halloween shooting on campus that left four people injured sped up the implementation of these new measures, the departments had previously considered revising their security system. The university also implemented some new security measures in the week following the shooting.

Beginning in the spring semester, students living in residential housing will be able to scan with their fingerprint into all other on-campus housing without using a guest pass.

The campus will also be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and, of the 27 openings on campus only, eight of them will be accessible. Those eight entrances will have checkpoints that require students and faculty to present ID to security ambassadors to enter campus.

[Correction: A previous version of this post said that campus will be closed from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. ]

There will be two checkpoints at the entrance on Jefferson Boulevard and Trousdale Parkway, two at the end of Trousdale Parkway and Exposition Boulevard, two on Figueroa Street and one at the Vermont Avenue entrance. Fencing will be constructed at the openings on Jefferson and Exposition boulevards. Construction for these temporary fences is slated to start next week and be fully in place by early January.

The new system will require an on-campus resident to register their guests after 9 p.m. at and have each guest present a government-issued ID when entering campus. The license plate for every vehicle entering campus will also be read and checked against a database of stolen cars.

DPS Chief Capt. Carey Drayton said he believes students will react positively to these new security checkpoints, while faculty and staff will have the largest adjustment period.

“I don’t think students will have a problem. [The security will be] like going to Gate 28 for football games. That’s just how you go to the game,” Drayton said. “However, faculty and staff aren’t used to having to show their ID’s to get on campus. That’s just going to be a different process for them.”

DPS plans to add 38 security cameras internally on campus, in addition to the 72 cameras already installed around the perimeter of campus.

Drayton emphasized that adjustments to the security measures will be made as needed.

The already-implemented measures to tight campus security after the Halloween shooting appear to have reduced thefts on campus for the time being. DPS has seen a decrease in theft in the month that the stricter security policies have been in place.

“Since implementing the fingerprint system, only one incident of property theft has occurred in three weeks,” Drayton said. “Before there used to be 25 to 30 incidents in that same three-week span.”

Drayton also emphasized that the security measures were not trying to serve as an additional hassle to students, but meant to minimize that threats from the outside.

“We are creating a process where it looks like and feels like people not affiliated with the school are not welcome,” Drayton said. “We are trying to balance inconvenience and the safety issues and this is the most effective way we can go about doing it.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson views the new measures as primarily beneficial to the university community.

“We’re doing this because we really care about the security and safety of students, faculty, and staff,” Jackson said.

The university officials stressed that ties to the community and local elementary schools will be maintained despite the new policies. Exceptions will be made for these organizations, and they can receive special guest passes to enter campus for their events.

“We will still be a welcoming place. That’s the goal,” Jackson said.

48 replies
  1. Sell Out
    Sell Out says:

    I got an interesting proposal. How about SC acquire mini-satellite campuses in NICER neighborhoods for the deserving programs such as Viterbi? Marshall can stay here so that the big bad bankers and accountants can go intern, interview, etc. in nearby downtown LA. Or how about buying a big piece of land in a nicer part of town, like maybe the Westside, and build a new campus there? How about we fuse with Pepperdine and move onto their campus? We’re private and conservative (for the most part) like them, albeit not religiously affiliated. Can you imagine that? Our football team can practice at sea level on a beautiful meadow overlooking the ocean while our gorgeous Trojanettes can jump in their Minicoopers or BMWs and we’ll be “90210 college years.” Hell yeah!! why not?!

  2. Sandeela
    Sandeela says:

    This does nothing, in fact maybe makes it worse, for the 61% of students who live off campus in these crummy neighborhoods in order to attend USC. How about more security for the whole safe zone?

  3. not_todd
    not_todd says:

    Look, it’s really simple: USC is a private institution on privately owned land. And just like any private property owner, can decide who is and isn’t allowed on it’s property for any reason. Same reason why fat chicks can’t get into A list clubs or a barefoot , shirtless bum can’t get served at a restaurant. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with the concept of private property.

  4. Current Student '13
    Current Student '13 says:

    @Oscar P

    You’re an idiot dude and I will no longer entertain your responses. Those “Judges” and “Courts” that you speak of have said the same exact thing that you refuse to accept. In their ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Ed, the U.S Supreme court held that private schools fall out of the scope of their ruling and thus are not constitutionally required to follow civil rights laws, such as the desegregation that the Brown decison mandated. The state courts have ruled the same way. As recent as 2009, the CA Sup Ct. ruled in Doe v. Lutheran High that a private high school had the right to expell a student because of her sexual orientation. Don’t what is so hard to understand. The only “rights” we have while on USC property are those which were specifically noted on the “policy statements” section of the student handbook.

      • Third party
        Third party says:

        Oscar, did you even read his response? He very precisely addressed your question of how we give up civil rights on USC property, using decisions from specific court cases as examples.

        If you wish to continue the argument, you have to provide some specific evidence of your own to work as a counterexample. That’s how a debate works.

        Name calling is generally considered concession of the argument.

        • Another Interested Person
          Another Interested Person says:

          No, CS’13 has not answered the direct question asked by OP. I’m not sure what you are reading Bro.

  5. Current Student '13
    Current Student '13 says:

    @Oscar P:

    As a Gould student, I could give you a drawn out answer but that would probably be too much for you to wrap your head around. It’s in the “Policy Statements” section saying that the Board has the final say on all matters and specifically list the rights you are entitled to you stupid fool.

    • Oscar P
      Oscar P says:

      Try me douche. Go ahead and in two sentences (or as many as you need) explain how you give up your “civil rights” by attending a SC. Broad generalizations about who has “final say” means nothing with respect to “civil rights”. Have you ever hear of the Court system? They have these things called “judges” and they usually have the final say in serious matters about “rights”.

  6. Ras
    Ras says:

    To all the liberal alarmists – relax – you will barely notice a difference. Why is it whenever people want more security and safety and someone does something about it then these liberal losers get their panties in a bunch. Would you rather have your sons or daughters jacked while they go from Leavey to their dorm? Let’s use some common sense. USE is in the middle of a ghetto jungle. Most students carry at least a few hundred dollars of not more of stuff if you factor phones, laptops, iPads, etc. the criminal elements knows that and is hoping you liberal losers see to it their criminality will continue because you will fight for their rights to jack USC Students

  7. miriam
    miriam says:

    Frankly, everyone bitching about the new security requirements ASTOUNDS me. I’m a transfer student from a private school across the country that was in an extremely safe, affluent area of a city (albeit across from a public park reputed for its drug use and other sketchy nighttime activities) and my school STILL had requirements like these in place. If you wanted access to the building, ANY building, between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am, you had to show your school ID card to the security card seated at the desk in the entryway and then tap into the system, which would bring up your photo to show you had active permission to use school facilities – and then and only then would the security guard let you pass. It’s just a fact that the public has no business being on campus during night time hours – if you aren’t a student, what can you possibly be doing on the campus that you couldn’t possibly do during daytime when everything was open? The only possible exceptions I can think of are sports games and visions & voices/arts events, and in that case I absolutely believe you should have to show a ticket in order to get on campus. It’s not “demanding papers” and I highly doubt there are going to be “searches and seizures” because if you are a drunk-ass college student who forgot their ID before going out, it serves you right. I expect everyone will be treated fairly – admittedly, that’s awfully naive given how militant DPS is about dumb things about bike lanes yet lax about things like preventing theft, but it’s certainly not a violation on the scale that a lot of you commenters are advertising.

    USC is a private university, not a local community rec center. There’s “community”, and then there’s PR bullshit. I’ve seen people walking around on the USC campus during the daytime who clearly had no business being there and were just there to cause trouble (notably unharassed by DPS). Most of the “community” I see on campus are local people from south central digging through the recycling cans to make a few extra bucks. I’m glad that they’re finally putting these security measures into place, because overall security on campus is more porous and lax than a two year old sponge.

  8. Current Student '13
    Current Student '13 says:

    First of all, we give up our civil rights to attend USC because this is both a private institution and private property. If the securing of the campus and its students bothers you that much, transfer to Cal or UCLA. Trust me, we’ll all survive your departure. Second, non-USC students have NO business on campus between 9pm-6am. Third, what’s the big deal with having to carry a school ID? 99% of us students carry them anyway. Almost everyone carries a driver’s license on them at all times right? I’m putting myself through school here and I think that tuition is way too expensive to have the first thing out of a job recruiter’s mouth be “did you hear about the shooting at USC in October?” when interviewing for a job. Lastly, Twan your ignorance never ceases to amaze me Bro. I doubt you’re a student, because real SC students do not display such ignorance. If this is the case, at least I’ll know when you won’t be on campus!

    • Oscar P
      Oscar P says:

      Your first sentence is dumbest I have ever read. Please direct me to section of SCampus where I agree to give up my civil rights as SC is a private institution. I hope you never vote or reproduce with your level of intellect as we can do much better.

  9. John Timms
    John Timms says:

    I’m very pleased with these changes. For each semester that I’ve been attending USC, there has been at least one preventable, senseless tragedy. In the past, nighttime security on campus has been porous, and off campus it has been even worse. I’m glad that USC is finally giving on-campus security the upgrade it deserves, and I hope that they’ll take further measures to protect off-campus students soon.

    Unlike some here are arguing, it isn’t worth preserving the facade of warm community fuzziness at the cost of robberies and shootings on campus. Fences between 9pm and 6am won’t change who we are as Trojans. Card checks and cameras aren’t discriminatory. These things are necessary facts of life in this time and place. I too value the relationship that our university has with LA and our local community. The strength of this relationship won’t be affected by any new DPS policies, but by the attitude of us, the students and alumni.

    In the end, we get our proverbial cake, and we get to eat it too. USC is giving students a safe and secure environment, while preserving the important ties we have to our community.

    • Demond
      Demond says:

      Mr. Timms,

      You can’t tell me you think we all going to get the same treatment at the gate as the 19 year-old fake breasted blond sorority girl coming back from the 9-0 after a night of one too many who lost her ID and can barely speak. They’ll probably have an express line for people like her to just wave them through while the rest of us wait in line to be processed like lambs to slaughter. Others of us not so blond and well healed may find trouble at the gate if our papers aren’t in order or we accidentally left them in the room. We may get our persons searched or they may look into our backpacks and grocery bags to see what we bringing in at 1am. Be careful what you ask for as our civil rights will most certainly will be violated by this illegal system of check-points and warrant-less searches!

      • Clarifications
        Clarifications says:

        The USC campus is private propery, so USC can grant or deny admittance to anyone it wishes. USC has decided to grant entry to those who have USC ID’s, and deny it to those who don’t at night. The easiest way to guarantee admittance to the USC campus is to possess a USC ID.

        Entry to the USC campus is not a civil right.

        It’s quite simple.

        • Demond
          Demond says:

          Oh, the Nazi Party Members are checking in letting me know who owns what. “Just make sure you carry those papers at all times or you gonna have a problem.” “Be a good boy and do what you’re told and everything will be fine…”

          • Clarifications
            Clarifications says:

            Exactly. Carry your USC ID with you if you want to get on campus between 9pm and 6am and you’ll be fine.

            Nazism was slightly more complicated, and infinitely more murderous. Nevertheless, I applaud your attempt at a bold analogy.

      • another USC parent
        another USC parent says:

        Good point. This is also, then, an opportunity for USC to elevate its social atmosphere to that of its new found academic status. 19 year old, blondes with fake boobs who are obviously intoxicated and perilously negotiating their way back to campus (should this occur) would hopefully be found in violation of the universities code of student conduct (does USC even have one?) or L.A.P.D’s, as well as be counseled for risk taking behavior.

  10. Swann
    Swann says:

    As a current student, it bothers me that the way DPS plans to secure campus is by erecting walls around the borders. I understand the necessity to close off the campus — in a lockdown situation, there is no way to completely close the campus as is, since there are so many open places on the perimeter of campus. But I fear that the campus will be closed like much of the western border along Vermont: with a long, iron and brick fence. While pretty, that fence creates a HUGE physical barrier between campus and the community, since it’s something like 10 feet tall in places. I don’t want that image to be projected around the entire campus.

  11. L
    L says:

    I agree with USC Mom. This is absurd.

    USC is going to become a mini police-state, inconveniencing students and faculty while alienating visitors such as parents and friends. And who are these people “protecting” us? The DPS seem to just stand around and do nothing, or check out girls as they pass by. The DPS that do seem to do something are only on a power trip for their own enjoyment.

    Anyone remember the beginning of the semester when the bike lanes were implemented? The DPS would just bark at students, dehumanizing us while they enjoy their little power trip.

    Moveover, this isn’t going to make the campus any more safe. If someone wants to get on campus to cause problems they will do so regardless. If check points only occur from 9 to 6, who is to say someone won’t enter campus at 8:30 and wait until some magical hour to cause problems? And really, something can go down at any hour, there is nothing special between 9 and 6.

    This is a horrible move that will only give the DPS another power-trip while making the rest of us feel like criminals.

  12. Troy
    Troy says:

    This is a complete roll-back of the community emphasis that has made USC different from other urban research universities and attracted top talent. A sad day when USC is erecting fences because it is scared of the community on which it lives. What happened to the bragging rights that tour guides said, “during the LA riots, only one kiosk window was broken on campus because the surrounding community helps protect our campus.” That spoke VOLUMES! And now the fences will speak volumes. SC is now scared. It shouldn’t be. Tear down these walls Mr. Nikas!

    • Twan
      Twan says:

      Why don’t we call this fence what it is? It’s a skin color fence! The darker the skin, the taller the fence…

  13. Usc grad
    Usc grad says:

    So i hope those new fences on Trousedake open up on game day. Its already crowded walking across expo, another bottleneck is not needed. Other than that, the cameras will help with any fence jumpers and make the campus a little safer. If u eliminate the potential for problems by not allowing that Halloween party and such, that would be wise.

  14. Kathy Zamsky
    Kathy Zamsky says:

    I trust USC will try to keep the students safe. There is crime everywhere not just at USC. I am sure USC has studied what is the best approach to keeping everyone safe.
    Hey it is not as bad as the airport where you cannot take an unopened bottle of water past security.

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      Apart from your pathetic passive-aggressive username, what exactly is it that offends you about these changes if you are a current student?

  15. Melly
    Melly says:

    I am proud of USC for stepping up to do what in necessary to protect our students. I applaud the thought and effort. Even though it will make getting onto campus more difficult or more of a “hassle” I would take a hassle over danger to myself or my fellow trojans any day of the week. I understand that some people are looking selfishly at what is convenient for them but when it is their friend or loved one that gets robbed or injured they demand justice. Our university are putting methods in place to ensure that no one is victimized. My only reprimand is that so many bad things had to happen before we stepped up to better protect our community but at least we stepped up and are trying.

  16. jOHN
    jOHN says:

    “Temporary Fences”, what good does this do? They need to be permanent. Most universities have beautifully constructed gates marking the entrances to campus. We need to do the same. Look at Columbia/Brown/even Berkely have their campus’ secured by entrance gates.

    It’s not only logical, it is necessary. The dramatic drop in crime over the past month is clearly linked to the new security.


  17. USC Mom
    USC Mom says:

    And where do parents get a USC ID to check on their kids after hours? No flunky rent-a-cop at some make-shift checkpoint Charlie is going to keep me off campus late at night when my son has the flu!

      • USC Mom
        USC Mom says:

        What is that supposed to mean? I’m talking about a medical emergency situation. Even if it wasn’t, how can they stop me at the “Border Fence” and demand my papers.

        Are you suggesting I don’t have a right to come on the campus that I pay for? In fact, my son receives no tuition welfare or grants and we pay the full amount up front at the beginning of every school year.

        I have already contacted people at the highest level at USC with whom I am familiar with and speak with on regular basis that they must issue id’s or keep a list of parents at the gate for emergencies or other matters. They have already told me in calls and emails a system for this is in the works for this.

        • Matt
          Matt says:

          It means you are a helicopter parent. Your son is in college, let him spread his wings. My mom definitely didn’t have a list of USC administrators on speed dial.

          For medical emergencies you can call 911; I’m sure an ambulance will be able to get on campus just fine.

        • Melly
          Melly says:

          I respect you for the love and care that you have for your son, not all parents are as dedicated as you are and your son is probably a great person because of you. As a parent you also deserve to have access to USC because you are a part of the Trojan family. Maybe looking at these measures as border control is too extreme. I can obviously tell that you are a great mom and that you want the best for your son. USC is trying to make him safer than before. The university is trying to ensure that there are no more tragedies, fatal and non fatal incidents happening to our students. I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to receive a call saying your son was hurt or is deceased. I think USC is trying to make sure that that doesn’t have to happen to any parent, even if they have to create a fence to keep out potential threats.

        • John M
          John M says:

          Ditto the other comments. Setting aside that the article detailed how you’d be able to access campus after hours, the fact that something as minor as the flu would necessitate your immediate presence is troubling.

          While your level of concern is admirable, your son is an adult now, and ought to be able to take care of himself as the other 16k+ undergraduate adults on campus also do when they get sick; unless of course you still want to be doing his laundry and cutting the crust off his sandwiches when he’s 40.

        • Horatio
          Horatio says:

          It’s sad that you’re son couldn’t have gotten into a better school with a campus that doesn’t have to go into lockdown at night. Hopefully it isn’t too late for him to transfer.

        • USC Mom
          USC Mom says:

          I have no idea what “Wings, Planes and Helicopters” has to do with locking up the campus at night. You must be confused about this article.

          My son could have gone to several other schools much higher on US News list and safer as well. He was accepted by those other schools and in some cases offered scholarships to attend. We don’t accept freebies or welfare from the government in our family so we picked SC as it is private institution. We also chose SC because of it’s proximity to our primary residence in Orange County where we attend church as a family every Sunday. We are a Christian family and we rely on each and the Lord for our strength.

          I’m sorry that some of you don’t have close relationship with your parents like my son and I.

          • Hey, USC Mom
            Hey, USC Mom says:

            Uh, USC pulls in more money from the federal government than most other schools, like to the tune of more than $500 million a year. It is the one thing that keeps the school going and, believe it or not, USC couldn’t live without it. This is true of EVERY research university. Get a clue as to how the world works.

            Just to give you an idea how USC sucks at the teat of taxpayer money:


            Just FYI, Johns Hopkins leads the list just about annually.

            I think your son was damn fortunate to be accepted to a school on USC’s level with such a clueless parent. And to top it off, even if you are paying retail tuition, that still doesn’t represent the actual cost. Sheesh, what a maroon.

          • Manny
            Manny says:

            That’s all well and good, but belittling our security services as “rent-a-cops” at some crap “Checkpoint Charlie” isn’t going to win you any favors. This is the same group of people that you, as an obvious helicopter parent, most likely were angry at for the “lack of security” when any incident occurred, whether it be on or off campus. You, like other helicopter parents, were probably screaming at the university for change, for more security, wondering why they couldn’t protect someone like your son.

            This is why your position makes zero sense, especially when you belittle the security people we have in place like you have done. Like others said, USC isn’t going to just bend to your ways. There are other students at the university besides your son. And I’m not confused about the article: I think your reaction is just plain stupid, or better yet, in your words, “confused.”

          • USC Mom
            USC Mom says:

            Not to worry Manny,

            I have gotten what I and other concerned parents need from the USC administration just this morning. There will be a parent hotline that we can call 24/7 and get access to campus within minutes and special parking if needed to come onto campus during lock down hours. They are working on a internet system and smart phone app as well. Those apps will not be implemented until next school year. Likely by then my son will have moved into his frat and this will no longer be a problem for my family.
            Regardless, I want to thank Mr. Nikas and his excellent staff for being flexible in the best interest of students and their families.

            Many thanks to all and God Bless!

        • Dan
          Dan says:

          We’re not saying you don’t have the right, but having USC in the area that it is live willy-nilly is no way to go, either. USC is protecting its investment and its image, and I applaud them for doing so. My parents and I both pay for my experience, but I don’t expect them to be able to come whenever they please. Neither should you. If your student follows procedure and checks you in to help him when he is sick, then what difference does it make? Guess what: we ALL at USC pay for the privilege of attending here. Thus, USC has an obligation to look out for the best for all of us. The university won’t bend just because you alone are upset about such a minor inconvenience, if that’s what you could call it.

          Are you complaining about the fictitious extra hassle? Or, like others, are you advocating for the stupid “free for all” idea? The latter is just plain dumb; USC students have no business on the campus after 9 PM because a) it’s private property, b) any academic use goes to students first (Leavey already closes at 10 to non-students), and c) any non-academic uses are a reflection that they shouldn’t be there anyway. I’m so sick of the lies and garbage about how USC is community first, and that’s why everyone comes here. You can get any old urban area around campus at hundreds of universities. Why should the community here think they are that much more above USC or those others?

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