LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A week after four people were wounded in an on-campus shooting at a Halloween party, USC President C.L. Max Nikias today announced steps to tighten security at the university.
“The safety of USC students, faculty and staff on campus is a top priority for me and for my leadership team,” Nikias said in an open letter addressed to the “USC community.”
“Like you, I was unsettled and troubled by last week’s shooting,” Nikias said. “While the situation was resolved quickly and without physical harm to students, faculty or staff, an event such as this is a sobering reminder that we must work constantly to ensure the safety of our university community.”
On Monday, 20-year-old Brandon Spencer of Inglewood pleaded not guilty to four counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack.
The gunfire broke out near a party sponsored by the Black Student Assembly and attended by about 400 people. None of the four victims attended USC, nor did the alleged shooter, authorities said.
Former Crenshaw High School football standout Geno Hall was the most seriously wounded, but was expected to survive. Three other people suffered wounds that authorities described as non-life-threatening.
Under a policy in effect at the time of the shooting, only students with USC identification, or college students with identification from their schools, were supposed to be admitted to on-campus parties.
Following the shooting, Nikias said school officials would be “carefully assessing and reviewing all of the university’s policies regarding visitors and events held on campus.”
In today’s letter, Nikias announced changes to the school’s general security policies.
Among the changes to policies “related to the planning, approval and hosting of events,” use of outside event promoters will no longer be permitted for USC social events in university facilities or on Fraternity and Sorority Row.
Also, all future student event applications will undergo heightened review by the Student Affairs office, and USC Department of Public Safety officers will be responsible for checking IDs of all individuals attending events where IDs are required.
Other general security changes–to be added gradually and fully implemented by the end of winter break on Jan. 14, 2013–include:
- after-hours access to the University Park campus between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be restricted to students, faculty, staff and their guests, including guests at university events, seven days a week;
- anyone who enters campus after 9 p.m. will be required to show appropriate ID prior to entrance, including students, faculty and staff, and their guests;
- showing appropriate ID prior to campus entrance may also be required during weekends when the number of access points into the campus is limited, with the exception of days featuring large campus events such as football games or the Festival of Books.
The Halloween shooting came in the wake of an April 11 shooting near the campus that left two USC graduate students from China dead. Two suspects have been charged with murder and are awaiting trial.
Wednesday night’s shooting occurred four years after USC sprinter Bryshon Nellum, who won a silver medal at this year’s London Olympics, was shot in both legs at a Halloween party just off campus.