Department of Public Safety Deputy Chief David Carlisle said that the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating an incident of racism that occurred Sunday at Cardinal Gardens.
Ivan Tsang, a sophomore majoring in business administration who is originally from Hong Kong, posted on Facebook following the incident. Tsang said that while he was sitting outside a fireplace at Cardinal Gardens early Sunday morning, a student shouted racial slurs and threw eggs at him from the balcony of an apartment in the building.
“Early Sunday morning a member of our USC community reported an incident of discrimination and prejudice that was threatening and unconscionable,” Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry said in a statement sent to students Sunday night. “An undergraduate student notified us that while sitting outside his campus residence he had eggs thrown at him accompanied by racial slurs. This act was shameful and will not be tolerated at our university.”
Tsang said that he attempted to ignore the three eggs pelted at him over a twenty minute period, but after the second egg was thrown, he called DPS.
“At first, I was just going let it go, but then they came back and threw a second egg at me. And this was clearly aimed at me,” Tsang said.
As the student entered the balcony for a second time, he or she aimed eggs at Tsang, explicitly shouting racially targeted expletives.
“[He or she said] the ‘ching chong’ is still there,” Tsang said.
Tsang said this is not the first time he has experienced racism and that he has heard many slurs while walking on South Figueroa. However, the incident — which has gained attention on social media — was the first time he experienced such blatant racist at University housing, “a well-protected USC space,” according to Tsang.
“I was sitting there because I was truly comfortable. I had no fears,” Tsang said.
He claims it was not the three eggs that bothered him, but the racial slurs that followed.
As a response to the incident, a resident assistant sent an email to students living at Cardinal Gardens.
“We do not tolerate this kind of behavior here in Cardinal Gardens at all, and our residential supervisors here in the community are currently taking care of the situation … Car Gar is meant to be a safe and inclusive community for EVERYONE,” the email said.
This incident comes at a time where campus climate is a major point of discussion.
While responding to such incidents, Tsang advised students to avoid directly challenging attackers to ensure student safety. However, he highlighted the accessible university resources for students experiencing similar racism.
“There are many available resources on campus you can access to make complaints, and you can have it anonymous too, which is great,” Tsang said.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the suspect sent a message to Tsang apologizing for his behavior. LAPD Detective R. Saafir said the suspect noted in his apology that he was also Asian and was intoxicated, according to the Times.
The LAPD has concluded that the incident should not be treated as a hate crime, according to a statement from Carry on March 10. The incident will be handled by the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. In the statement, Carry said that the University would be unable to provide further details of the proceedings as disciplinary records are protected under federal law and because student’s have a right to confidentiality .
“Thank you for understanding our obligation to comply with federal law and protect student privacy,” Carry said.
Editor’s Note: This post was last updated at 1:16 p.m. on March 12.