How Far is Too Far?: Fortress USC and the Struggle to Keep Students Safe

New security gates appeared along Exposition Blvd. recently as part of USC's effort to make its campus more secure for students. (photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiss)

*For continued coverage of profiling issues around campus please click here and here.

WHEN I BEGAN MY GRAD PROGRAM at USC in 2001, I lived north of campus a few blocks on Hoover Street. As my daylight hours were generally occupied with classes and teaching responsibilities, I tended to get my long-distance runs in well after dark. Instead of being able to clear my head as I did figure-eights around campus and Exposition Park, however, I was often stopped by police who wanted to know what the hell I thought I was doing.

“Don’t you know bad things happen around here?” I was asked when stopped along King Blvd. one night. “There are drug dealers in that house right there,” an officer said, pointing to one of the houses across the street.

“I’m not in the market for any drugs, officer,” I told him.

“You don’t get it,” he said, exasperated. “It isn’t safe around here. This is a bad area. You shouldn’t be here.”

He was wrong. I did get it.

What I got was that USC and those asked to police the area felt that the best way to keep students safe was to warn them against their neighbors and keep them segregated. The less cross-over, the less chance for problems to arise.

The effort to enforce this segregation was multi-fold. My students reported being warned at orientation to be wary of the community — the long-time inhabitants of the neighborhood. Meanwhile, youth from the area who walked on or near the campus were hassled by the police and on-campus security, asked about who they were, where they were headed, and what business they had being there.

Speaking to local youth participating in a walk on and around campus last year, Dyane Pascall, a young African-American resident of the area and Director of Finance and Administration for Community Services Unlimited, recounted that because he and another staff member had been hassled by police so often when walking near USC — not even on campus — they had both decided to alter their routes to avoid the demoralizing aggravation of being constantly stopped.

For some of my (USC) students, the divide seemed unbridgeable. Many regularly bad-mouthed the community: “It’s such a shitty area;” “There’s nothing around here;” and the oddly self/image-conscious, “People look down on USC because it is in such a ghetto-ass neighborhood.”

That certainly wasn’t true of all students. Many took advantage of the opportunities available to get involved in the numerous efforts USC makes to invest in the community, such as helping out at area schools. But, even then, they weren’t always able to translate lessons learned from those experiences to more harmonious living with long-time residents of the area.

When I suggested that a student looking for a summer program abroad begin by practicing his Spanish with his Guatemalan neighbors (whom I had met while doing a photo project), he scoffed at me: That’s ridiculous.

What was he supposed to do, just knock on the door and introduce himself? He preferred to go some place with real culture and real Spanish, he said. What would he talk to them about, anyways? He was sure they would have nothing to say to each other.

####

Temporary gates spotted earlier this year at the entrance at Jefferson and Hoover appear to leave a little to be desired in the way of securing the area. However, at night it is staffed by a few ambassadors and someone from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Someone trying to get around the gates via the grass would be easily spotted and apprehended. (photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiss)

Now, USC has gone even further in reinforcing that divide between students and residents of the area by doing everything but installing a gator-filled moat around the perimeter.

Between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., access to the campus has been restricted to students, faculty, staff, and their guests, including guests at university events, seven days a week. The 27 access points have been reduced to 8 at night, including two checkpoints at the entrance at Jefferson Blvd. and Trousdale Pkwy, two at the end of Trousdale and Exposition Blvd., two on Figueroa St., and one at the Vermont Ave. entrance. Fencing along Jefferson (ugly chainlink for now) and Exposition (permanent gates), the installation of 38 on-campus security cameras (adding to the 72 cameras already installed around the perimeter of campus), and the positioning of contracted security ambassadors at strategic locations throughout the campus are intended to ensure these checkpoints are respected.

When I stopped by last night, the checkpoints were each manned by two security ambassadors and at least one member of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), all of whom took their jobs very seriously despite the frigid temperatures.

Want to cross through campus on your way home after you get off the Metro at the Expo/USC station at night? Chill on a quiet bench on campus and chat with a friend after catching an evening event across the street at the Natural History or California African American Museums? Or stroll through campus after a late night coffee at one of the cafes along the perimeter?

Sorry, but if you are not a student (or haven’t gotten a student to register you online at visitor.usc.edu), it looks like you are sh*t out of luck. You might even be out of luck on the weekends, too — day or night — unless you are on a guest list for a specific event or there is a public event, such as the Festival of Books.

####

These somewhat drastic measures are largely (although, not completely) in response to calls for greater security in the wake of an on-campus shooting outside a party last Halloween. A third-party promoter had advertised at campuses around the city for a costume party thrown by the Black Student Assembly that was meant to be only open to students. A few of the more than 100 non-USC would-be party-goers that had been turned away at the door got into an altercation. Someone pulled out a gun began firing. Four people were wounded, one critically.

Students and parents alike called for greater security measures around campus. Even those that openly worried about the consequences of closing the campus off to the community did seem to agree that increasing security at night was essential. Although the shooting was the first on campus since 1992, the incident followed the April murders of two Chinese graduate students, shot to death while sitting in a car at Raymond Ave. and 27th St. (about a mile from campus), a horrifically senseless event that put everyone on edge.

Some of the new security measures are merited, no doubt, and can have a real impact on student safety. The prohibition of the use of third-party promoters, for example, is intended to ensure that on-campus events are manageable and do not attract non-students. A fingerprint scanning system implemented at on-campus resident halls has made them more secure (although it is annoying to some), significantly reducing property theft from the typical 25 – 30 incidents in a three-week period last semester to just one, according to DPS Chief Captain Carey Drayton. The security ambassadors stationed at numerous corners between Jefferson and Adams since 2009 have also made students (and their parents) feel safer about walking or riding around the neighborhood at night.

But the measures also raise questions about who USC imagines it is protecting itself from and the cost to that community.

The already heavy-handed policing of the area — as far as local youth were concerned — appears to have become even more intense since the shooting of the Chinese grad students and 30 police officers were added to the Southwest Division. Twenty-year old Fidel Delgado, life-long resident of the area, business administration student at LACC, and subject of a series of articles last year reports that officers now regularly pull up alongside him or his friends when they are walking outside to ask if they are on parole or probation before even bothering to ask their names. Some of the youth report being hassled in their own yards, with police pulling up and, without pretense of any niceties, demanding to know if they live there.

Police have even stopped by family gatherings and parties (when spotting a party-goer or two getting air outside) just to ask about who is there and what they are doing, Fidel says. Maybe they are worried about seeing so many Latinos together, he shrugs with a laugh, not sure if he should say that but unable to find any other explanation for the way he and others from his community are being treated.

It’s getting really bad, he mused from behind the counter of the coffee shop where he works, across the street from campus.

Unsettlingly, he and his friends all live well north of Adams Blvd., more than a mile from campus. Which raises questions about just how much of the surrounding area USC feels it has the right to claim as its territory and whether, as it expands, the members of outerlying communities will be made to feel even more unwelcome in their own neighborhoods.

The December approval of the USC Specific Plan gives USC the green light to replace the University Village shopping area with a 35-acre “Village at USC” that will include a pedestrian-friendly mix of shops, restaurants, a grocery store, a hotel, a movie theater, student housing, and academic offices. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the project should result in 8,000 in permanent new jobs at the redeveloped complex, at least 30 percent of which will go to local residents.

Much of the drawn-out negotiations between USC and the community about the plan had been dedicated to ensuring local residents and businesses were not pushed out of the area. The community had wanted USC to view them as a partner and an asset, something they appeared to have achieved with the historic agreement. The likelihood that security will continue to be a paramount concern as that project moves forward, however, raises questions about how the university will balance security with openness. Will the placement of student housing within the new village mean that the site will need to be shut off to the community as well?

What are your thoughts about the new measures? Or about what they mean for the future of relations between USC and the community? Student safety is a genuine concern and USC has a duty to protect its students, but is hunkering down in a fortress the right balance between security and openness?  I’d say let loose with your thoughts below, but since USC is also looking for your feedback, that might be the best place to voice your approval or concerns. They have set up an online form that allows students, community members, and interested parties to register their thoughts and suggestions. To add your voice to the mix, please click here.

*Many thanks to grad student Brian Hsu, who, concerned about USC shutting itself off to the community, sent the link to the feedback form to us in an email this morning. And to Eric Bruins and Jonathan Weiss for sending along their photos and concerns this past weekend.

  • Anonymous

    @c25cd7421037f95da975a418fa21409d:disqus How many graduate shootings have there been on the Village near NYCU? Or near UCLA? 

    USC is a world-class university that attracts people from many different ethnic backgrounds, American and foreign, who happened to be engulfed over time by a place that went into decay and is full of gangs, drug dealers and a high rate of people on parole, violent ex-felons. So the university should protect its students before it thinks of whether people who don’t spend a dime on tuition gets to lose a more convenient bike route. 

  • Anonymous

    I think most students actually support these measures, because it makes them feel safer. As it happens in any academically elite school whose public is mainly out-of-town (and even out-of-country) students, students just want to be safe, they have high loyalty and affection for the school, but don’t care much about what is beyond campus, especially if it is a semi-ghetto where they can get shot, robbed or harassed. 

  • Anonymous

    First of all, I think USC is right on protecting its students. I don’t see a backlash of students against these new measures since they keep their 24/7 campus access. 

    Second, harassment situations described here are done by LAPD, not USC campus police or “security ambassadors”. So go complain to the appropriate channels, not to the university, if LAPD harass people on the area.
    Third, this accusation that USC is “racist” is bogus. USC student body is very diverse, probably more than the city itself if you consider how many different groups are represented there. They (students) are mostly middle-class or upper-class, and just don’t want (nor do they have to) mingle and fit the the lower uneducated background of the area. It is normal, why should they mingle on an area that is full of actual dangers (like the Chinese students who, having done nothing wrong, got killed merciless). So what is on play is just what happens in every city: college educated (or college students to be precise) have different interests and aspirations that don’t fit the low-class ghetto “ethos”. Why would people aspiring to work for Silicon Valley companies, NASA, military contractors, engineering big firms, all sorts of industries would be interested in downplaying themselves to fit a geographical accident (the low-income neighborhoods that surrounds them)? Makes no sense at all. 

  • sahra

    Thank you for so aptly illustrating why walling the university off from the community is dangerous… I have faith that most students are more open-minded than to believe that associating or sharing space with someone of lesser means is somehow demeaning, but for the ignorant few, a wall can serve to justify that unfortunate sentiment.

  • Kenny Easwaran

    I am a faculty member at USC, but I need to make clear I’m speaking only on my own behalf, and not on behalf of my department or the school.

    This definitely seems like a bad idea to me.  In my first few years at USC I sometimes stayed late in my office, and when I wanted to leave campus, I would often find that the gate I wanted to leave was locked, and so I would have to walk around several buildings to get to the next gate.  It’s already bad enough that there’s no gate near the southwest corner of campus, where the 754 and the Expo Line meet.  I had pondered asking the university to leave more gates open more often, but now they’re doing exactly the opposite.

    It’s possible that there is a safety benefit from this, but it seems really unclear.  If you set yourself up like a fortress, that seems to motivate the ones that want to besiege a fortress.

    The other measures, like no third-party promoters, and greater security getting into dorms, seem like good ideas.  But preventing members of the community (whether students, faculty, staff, or neighbors) from walking through seems far more harmful than beneficial.

  • Talisinay

    Having an agressive attitude results in agressive behavior as was evident the night of the halloween shooting. Thank you for justifying these security measures . It is exactly this kind of agressive attitude the students need to be protected from.

  • Brian Hsu

    Well I can’t tell you crime statistics from these places off of the top of my head, but I would suspect that USC is not in some absolutely exceptional situation relative to some of the examples I have mentioned (for instance, Penn and Drexel border parts of West Philadelphia, with similarly ‘bad’ reputations). I would also suggest that your characterization of USC’s neighborhood as engulfed by crime and decay is exaggerated…Most of the graduate students I know who actually live in the area now don’t find it much different from any average big city neighborhood. No one disagrees that the University should protect its students. I simply believe that the new gates and harsh campus access restrictions are not an effective way to do so.

  • Class of 09

    The USC administration is simply trying to ease the fears of the international community. This is not a local politics/race relations issue.  USC has a huge international student population, and needs this money to continue running the machine.  After the two Chinese students were murdered, USC needed to make a move to make it look like things are changing.  That being said, the gates are stupid and offensive, and the administration should realize that.  Add more patrols, but don’t put up a fence.

    I graduated not too long ago and the neighborhood really isn’t that bad, and the relationship with the neighborhood isn’t that bad.  People need to chill.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it is only the international community that cares about. Student population at times have conflicting relationships with the surrounding of campuses. It is not an easy relationship. But violent crime put the thing on a whole different level.

    Fences are not offensive. People can still walk in daytime. And students and staff will feel safer at night, which is their right (if USC were located in Bel-Air, such measures wouldn’t be needed in all likelihood). 

  • Nathanael

    This isn’t security.  I’ve seen security (on rare occasions), but this isn’t it.

    This is security *theater*, and *as always* it’s just going to create a nastier environment, and a situation where the authorities are known by *everyone* to be the bad guys.

    I don’t know why schools do this.  Authoritiarian thugs in the administration is my usual guess.  It’s a good sign of an intellectually subpar university, because this sort of behavior drives away smart people.

  • Nathanael

     Andre: Penn has had LOTS of shootings.

  • calwatch

    The other important thing is that as the reputation of USC increases, the demand level of parents, students, and other stakeholders also increase. Basically it took USC from the Daytons, Baylors, and Seton Halls of the world to being mentioned in the same sentence as Duke, Vanderbilt, or Georgetown. You attract a higher level of student than when Sahra was going to school and USC was accepting 50% of its applicants, or 1992, the riot year, when the percentage was closer to 70%. 

  • Anonymous

    USC is one of the world’s best technical universities!!! It has been for decades, and the security measures are widely supported by its student body.

    Can’t people accept that just because students are smart, some even geniuses, and produce world-class science, doesn’t mean they are automatically all that worried about a low-income neighborhoods that happens to surround their campuses where two students got shot for nothing and whose demographics is just not the cohort the students usually mingle with???

  • Nathanael

     No, the students won’t feel safer at night, Andre.  “Fence” solutions rarely deter crime.  In fact, they’re excellent at allowing the people locked *inside* the fence to go on crime sprees.  When that doesn’t happen, they frequently cause the people locked inside to bypass, break, or open the gates whenever possible.

  • Nathanael

     Fencing is not protection.

  • Nathanael

    No, Andre, people cannot accept that smart students are a bunch of bigots who need to be locked in a citadel behind gates while thugs harrass anyone outside the gates.  I certainly don’t believe it.

  • Anonymous USC Sophomore

    I am a current USC student and over the past 2 years:

    1) my dorm was broken into by a gang member. I would have been hurt if a maintenance worker did not step in and intervene, had to testify in court. According to LAPD, this was a part of his gang initiation

    2) my apartment by campus was broken into this month by a woman and approx $700 worth of my stuff was stolen

    3) I’ve had 3 bikes stolen

    4) my boyfriend (a big guy) was jumped by a gang outside a liquor store, punched in the face (his ear was badly injured), and is STILL traumatized to this day and afraid to walk around at night

    5) my roommate was pushed up against a wall after walking home from a party (on a crowded street) and a man put a knife to her throat and demanded all of her money. She was so traumatized she had to have therapy.

    6) A local drug addict broke into my dorm building last year and overdosed on heroin; a student had to call 911 and an ambulance arrived but it was too late

    7) I cannot go to a single restaurant, gas station, etc. in the area without someone approaching me and asking for money–and, due to these prior traumatic events, I am filled with fear each time I am approached by a stranger

    8) I am frequently cat called at or sexually harassed on a daily basis

    9) While at a restaurant having lunch, a man ran up to my table, grabbed by iPhone, and ran off (it was never recovered)

    Yes, racial profiling is inexcusable and wrong (USC DPS needs to stop racial profiling immediately-it does not reflect USC’s values and undermines our integrity), but I am NOT opposed to the gates. It’s private property, and many other colleges have gates. This does not mean USC won’t continue to do community outreach, but I would prefer that only students/faculty/approved visitors be allowed on campus because I am not going to sugar coat things–THE AREA AROUND USC IS NOT SAFE. I don’t think that’s racist, spoiled, or unfair to want gates, especially in light of shootings over the past year which, contrary to popular belief, are a BIG deal–especially when you’re a young girl who often feels vulnerable walking home (or even on campus) at night.

  • Say What?

    1. Your dorm room?
    2
    3. Did you lock them with a U lock?

  • Say What?

    1. Was it your dorm room or your dorm building? How is this different than an apartment building?
    2. Was your apartment secured?
    3. Did you lock your bikes with a good U-lock?
    4. Unfortunate :(
    5. Unfortunate :(
    6. One less drug addict.
    7. That’s how city life works, honey. We have a very unequitable society. Unless you get more social programs to get people like that off the street, this will continue.
    8. Grow some thick skin.
    9. Who leaves their iPhone lying around on a table?

  • Say what?

    If you take a look around the world, most places that are mixed income/mixed race/etc. are safer and more interesting to live in than places that are not.

  • east

    So, I guess you have no point in response to her well written and poignant comment, other than ‘shut up’.

  • sahra

    Ok, let’s not attack the lady, shall we? USC attracts criminal activity because of the wealth of the student body and the fact that many of the students are not particularly street-savvy. Just because she isn’t accustomed to being in a rougher urban environment doesn’t make her at fault for not enjoying it when drug addicts die in her dorm. The bigger question is why do we think it is acceptable for that to be what we consider a “normal urban environment”? Besides, the point of the article was that it is not your local kids — the ones that are the subject of profiling and who live in that environment year round — that are doing it. In fact, they are just as at-risk for being targeted for these same kinds of attacks as the students. The difference is, most do not report it because they can’t risk it — if they live within a particular gang territory, they are likely to be retaliated against for reporting a crime in a way that USC students are not. So they are even more vulnerable. That’s why it is so important the profiling stop. For the entire community to be safer overall, those youth are just as in need of protection as the USC students.

  • James

    I actually live about 3 miles from the campus in a so called bad neighborhood. When people find out where I live they are surprised because I am white. I visit usc often and find the security a little bit overkill. The students parents pay lots of money for them to attend USC and I can understand they want there children to be safe. The surrounding area is and will slowly change the houses around campus are not cheap 400-800k and people with expensive assets most of the time are not criminals. There is rent control but as time goes on there will be less and less crime and im sure the campus will reconfigure the layout and may not need as many gates. I would imagine there will be a main entrance etc.. nyway there is a saying divide and conquer been going on for centuries seems people are still falling for it…

  • MAO ZEDONG

    YES/NO COME TO CLASS. All college does is let students come to class.

    College will go way of internet. all colleges will be connected to each other like the computer network. The superfast computer network of all colleges connected by the superfast network.

    Information Age Now: instead of one college, we can attend 500-1000 colleges.

    Instead of one, we can attend 500 college in Information Age. College Anytime Anywhere worldwide.

  • JP Soares

    ^ totally agree, attended SC from 07-11 and none of this EVER happened to me, nor did I ever feel threatened in the least.

  • fastorslow

    well you just need to get jacked or get a gun/knife up in your face to understand that it isnt just the students that are scared, lots of people are nervous in this part of town…anyone with something worth taking (including your precious life) should be nervous. the gang initiations are a historical part of this area and the gang initiations involve robbing/killing us. and the gangs just keep growing.

  • Ras5555

    Sahra,

    You strike me as someone who thinks highly of herself just because you do not have a car (or is “99% car-free” as you put it – gosh can you get more Gwyneth Paltrow-ishly annoying) or because you are such a hero because you jog around expo park. In other words, you think rather highly of yourself because you do the things many people in LA just do everyday. You just think not having a car or jogging around Expo Park is so unique because you obviously hang out with only “typical” SC students. Many ppl in LA do not have cars and many ppl use Expo park – and they do not think mentioning these things makes them a hero…

    Let me ask you something – if there are reports of White Supremacist groups randomly attacking black people in Leimert Park – and a police officer one day spots a group of young white men, shaved heads, wearing black boots, dusters and heavy iron crosses slowly waling around rather aimlessly – would it be racist of the police officer to stop and talk to these young white men and try and find out what they are up to in Leimert Park? Or would that be racist profiling? Or would that be good police work?

  • Ras5555

    Sahra,

    BTW – the recent murder of USC student, Xinran Ji – I suppose you feel his death was a lack of him being able to connect with his attackers?

  • Abby Lee

    Stop whining about such petty things. You sound so spoiled! These police are doing great service by putting their lives in danger everyday! Be thankful for the police. If there was so police, hobos and crime would come to usc. Seriously, why the fuck are you bitching about such little things?

  • sahra

    With regard to your question above, I think it was a terrible, terrible tragedy, if you must know. I cannot
    imagine how much he must have suffered. Nor can I imagine the pain of
    his parents losing a child to such a horrific and senseless incident.
    But, my concern about security around USC is that the system tends to
    encourage profiling of innocent residents of color. Many of those that
    victimize USC students are not residents in the area, including those
    that murdered the two Chinese students two years ago. So, should all people of color pay for awful behavior of a people they have no connection to, other than the fact that they happen to share a skin color? No, but that is unfortunately what happens, as I detail here. http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/04/30/a-tale-of-two-communities-new-security-measures-at-usc-intensify-profiling-of-lower-income-youth-of-color/

  • Ras5555

    You start with saying you will answer my question and then you entirely avoid addressing my question. Can you respond to my hypothetical situation about white skinheads in Leimert Park? Or does that question make you too uncomfortable to even acknowledge?

  • sahra

    The question doesn’t make me uncomfortable at all. But to answer the question would mean that I accept your premise, which is the assumption that people of color around USC are the equivalent of violent skinheads bent on perpetrating hate crimes. You are also assuming that it is easy to tell who is a gang banger or potential criminal by their clothing. It’s not. Cops have told me that, because of their profiling efforts, criminals are starting to wear USC gear so they blend in better. So, given that both of your premises are incorrect, I don’t see the question as having any actual merit beyond being provocative.

    But I am guessing that what you’re trying to get at is the question of profiling gang bangers? I can tell you, as someone who has done volunteer work with at-risk youth in the area for years now, it is true that gangs are a problem in some of the neighborhoods around USC. That said, however, the gangs and crews tend to target each other and victimize community members — not the students. But the community members — who live there year round and are their neighbors — are often too intimidated to call the police because of fears of retaliation. They don’t get the same level of protection the students do. The gang members that victimize students or cause trouble are often from outside, as I mentioned above. So the intense profiling that happens really hurts the local kids who are walking back and forth to school and, as we unfortunately saw, does very little to prevent attacks like the terrible one we saw that resulted in that students death.

    This answer will not satisfy you, I am sure. And I understand the concern people have — any time you have a wealthy population like the one at USC, you’re going to unfortunately have people looking to take advantage of them and their lack of street savviness. And parents are right to want to know that their children are going to be safe. But, as I said, it generally isn’t the local folks that are doing it and punishing them for the crimes of others is not fair.

    That’s all I can say. You’ll likely ask a version of your question again, but my answer will be the same.

    Best,

    sahra

  • Ras5555

    You conveniently misstate my premise in the hypothetical and then you avoid the original question – which i very typical of cowardly liberals who do not want to confront reality. I said if the Leimert Park area was being attacked by some skinheads – and one day a couple of white kids with shaven heads were walking around (notice, i did NOT say these kids are or are not racist skinheads) would it be profiling therefore bad police work to stop and questions these kids.

    I know you are going to come back and either pretend you still do not understand the hypothetical or misstate it once again. I look forward to seeing how you will continue to avoid facing and answering this question.

  • Ras5555

    You also state something that I think is one of the most surreptitiously racist positions liberals take. You seem to be saying that since gangbangers attack and kill other gangbangers as opposed to USC students, people like me should be somehow less upset. That is ridiculous and stupid narrative that is being perpetuated by the liberal media whenever they report that a shooting or murder was “gang- related”. I am a citizen of LA – I am concerned if other thug elements murder another human being in my city. I guess you feel as long as gang member murder each other – people like you are not as upset.

  • atlspfox

    Racial profiling is hardly an ineffective security or police practice. Ask the security at Heathrow AP. The fact that no one wants to discuss is that you have a segment of the population that is committing an incredibly disproportionate percentage of crime compared to their percentage of the population. Many of the statements made below certainly seem designed more to sooth the sensibilities of the author in order to avoid being labeled as a racist. That tactic has been used in countless situations in order to avoid an actual discussion about real cultural issues. This cult of victim status has manifested itself as a convenient excuse for perpetrators of crime and so called political activist alike. The issues in the neighborhoods like that around USC are cultural and need to be addressed from within and not simply yet another social program. The U.S. has had over 40 years of social programs and spent an incredible amount of national treasure on those programs whose efficacy is never challenged. When over 72% of black males are born out of wedlock and live in single parent homes with offspring from multiple fathers none of whom have ever been involved in their son’s lives then you have the recipe the ills that plague our society. If the causes of academic achievement, personal responsiblity and civility were insilled via two parent households in only a fraction of the effort spent on preaching oppression and racism then crime rates and poverty would be vastly improved. Free market systems will always produce inequities. In fact, that is the in part what they should produce when effort and intelligence is rewarded rather than punished. But no other system has produced more opportunity for economic and social advancement than this system despite the howling protests of economic and social justice ringing from the usual divisive sources.

  • dominic

    sahra, are you gangsters and thieves in disguise?trying to get people to lower their guard

  • sahra

    As someone who had my passport snatched out of my hand at Heathrow because of my heritage, and who was later threatened with being put on a watch list, I would have to say I disagree with you. I am hardly terrorist material. And given that the rest of your comment descends into a depressing rabbit hole of bunk and racist blather, I’ll just leave that alone.

  • sahra

    Some try to blend in to make snatching laptops or whatever else easier. If they manage to get into a library and are wearing USC gear, it is less likely someone will look twice at them if they go and poke around in someone’s unattended back pack.

  • atlspfox

    I do not think that the effectiveness of Heathrow’s security policies are determined by your experience whatever it may have actually been. I am not certain what your “heritage” is but to say there is no correlation between those of middle eastern backgrounds and terrorism is an example of the lunacy of policital correctness plaguing Europe and the U.S. Your assessment that the rest of my comments are racist is the quintessential attempt to demonize and obfiscate when one lacks the intellectual rigor to engage in any honest discussion. Alas, it must improve your own sense of enlightenment to type said response though it is as you suggest,, blather.

  • Jenny

    University of Safety California.

    Feel free to move to the hood and keep your front door open 24/7 if there are no issues.

  • Rooster Penguin

    Clearly you’re not native to Los Angeles. This is a city of crime and gangs. So shut up with your little university kid banter and watch your back.

  • Natalie Ryan

    except the students aren’t locked inside?

  • Natalie Ryan

    when the community seems intent on committing violent crime, I think most reasonable students would rather be in a bubble than robbed/raped/jumped outside of it.

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Voices from the OCTA Active Transportation Leadership Program

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Last week, I stopped by Garden Grove’s and Anaheim’s third Active Transportation Leadership Program workshops to meet some of the attendees. The third workshop invited staff from each city, from Orange County Transportation Authority, Southern California Association of Governments, and from Caltrans to present their sector’s work in forwarding active transportation initiatives. Though the presentations […]