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Ugly Outtakes from USC History

August 28, 2011

The following are some particularly horrifying facts and incidents about USC’s past, though it is far from a comprehensive list. Although this guide focuses mostly on contemporary ills at USC, we think it’s also worth noting that serious crimes have been committed by the university since its beginning.

Rufus B. von KleidSmid was USC’s president from 1921 – 1946 and USC’s chancellor from 1946 – 1964. According to 1996 USC dean of religious life Rabbi Susan Laemlme, “Depending on who you believe, [von KleidSmid] was somewhere between liking Germans and being a Nazi.” An article on says that “Although there were no formal quotas in place during von KleinSmid’s administration, it is rumored that only one Jewish student per year was admitted to the university’s law and medical schools. In 1946, also during von KleidSmid’s presidency, a cross burning took place on the lawn of a Jewish fraternity house.”



USC-LA Medical Center was the defendant in the lawsuit Madrigal v Quilligan that charged that the 10 women plaintiffs were forcibly sterilized after giving birth. Here is some testimony from two of the plaintiffs in that case:

While I was in advanced labor and under anesthesia with complications in my expected childbirth and in great pain, the doctor told me that I had too many children, that I was poor, and a burden to the government and I should sign a paper not to have more children” – Jovita Rivera.

[A] doctor said that if I did not consent to the tubal ligation that the doctor repairing my hernia would use an inferior type of stitching material which would break the next time I became pregnant, but that if I consented to the tubal ligation that the stitches would hold as proper string would be used. No one ever explained what a tubal ligation operation was, I thought it was reversible” – Helena Orozco.



A 1990 article in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Anti-Apartheid Students Sue USC, L.A. Over Alleged Beating by Police” (2) recounts that:

The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that the security guards led students to a campus alleyway and then attacked them after they tried to present the university Board of Trustees with a letter demanding that the school divest its holdings in South African companies. The incident was videotaped by a local television station and a USC film student.”

The videotape shows campus security guards jabbing and shoving several students with night sticks as the activists clamber to get back inside Bovard Auditorium. LAPD officers are shown watching the fray but not participating.”


Sources Cited




USC Activist Organizations

August 27, 2011

Amnesty International

Amnesty International @ USC is a human rights advocacy organization that aims to increase campus education and involvement in human right campaigns around the world. Through various events we hope to educate the campus about current human right violations and as a campus come together to do our part to stop these acts from continuing. Join and become a part of this amazing and life-changing endeavor!!!


Campus and Community United (CCU)

We are Campus and Community members committed to empowering the University Park Community to create a just and vibrant neighborhood. We are USC’s first cross-discipline and multicultural group to promote neighborhood opportunity and a bottom-up community plan for Los Angeles with local grassroots community members. We are focusing on dealing with issues of displacement and affordable housing for both students and community members in the surrounding area.


Environmental Affairs Organization (EAO)

Our purpose is to work with the USC administration to develop a plan in which USC will switch its energy use from fossil fuels to sustainable and renewable sources of energy.


FACE AIDS is a non-profit group dedicated to raising money and awareness to fight AIDS in Africa. FACE AIDS is dedicated to raising money by selling handmade beaded pins, which in turn supports those in Africa fighting the pandemic. FACE AIDS is able to give vital life-saving care and opportunities to countless AIDS victims in rural Rwanda.


Fight on for Darfur

We are USC’s chapter of STAND, the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network. While we were organized originally as a coalition to act against the conflict in Darfur, our aim is to address and fight against all instances of genocide and mass violence through education, fundraising, and advocacy.


Free Schools Figueroa Corridor

Free Schools Figueroa Corridor aims to create democratic, horizontal learning spaces where anyone who wants to can teach a class, take a class, or participate in the organizing of this learning collective.


International Socialist Organization

ISO organizes activists in workplaces and communities and on campuses in order to mobilize opposition to all forms of oppression and exploitation. The ISO believes that capitalism produces poverty, racism, famine, environmental catastrophe and war. By getting involved in struggles big and small, the ISO aims to build with others a society where we all have control over our lives. We believe another world is possible. And necessary.

Contact: Facebook – International Socialist Organization – Los Angeles (Announcements)

USC Men Care

USC Men Care is an all-male group dedicated to ending sexual violence and to fostering a campus culture where all feel safe.


Movimiento Estudiantil Xicana/o de Aztlan de USC

MEChA de USC is a historically Latino student activist organization based on campus since 1971. Since its inception, MEChA has striven toward its goals of educational equality, and cultural, political, and social awareness. MEChA and Mechistas seek to open the doors of higher education para nuestras comunidades and strive for a society free of imperialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Through our commitment to the principles of liberation and self-determination, we have been instrumental in creating a home for students of color at USC and working with our neighbors in South Los Angeles to struggle towards a more just community.

At MEChA we are here to help and support one another as we struggle to learn, and learn to struggle.


The Nook

The Nook brings together campus and community members once a month for a vibrant and intimate open mic night, expressing personal values and progressive visions for society through art performances and storytelling. Differences are celebrated, while intersecting values of social justice, peace, and free expression remind us of the importance of solidarity for social change. By showcasing a different organization and theme each month, performance and audience members alike engage in a collective creative discovery of how the personal is political, and the political relates to the entire community.


Student Coalition for Asian Pacific Empowerment (SCAPE)

SCAPE, as one of the only Asian Pacific American advocacy organization at USC, sees the development of the Asian Pacific American community at USC by creating entertaining and effective programming targeted at bringing awareness of the issues that Asian Pacific American are facing today, developing long term relationships with collegiate and community based organizations in order to have a stronger voice within and outside of USC, and fostering a creative and exciting organization for USC students to enjoy and feel rewarded in their time spent at USC.


Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation (SCALE)

We are an organization that believes in justice for all working people. Our current campaign is trying to get USC to source its apparel from factories and companies that do not utilize sweatshop labor and believe in providing their workers a living wage.


Students for Justice in Palestine at USC

Part and parcel of the larger student movement sweeping university campuses across the United States, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and community members centered at the University of Southern California, and organized in accordance with democratic principles to promote justice, human rights, and self-determination for the Palestinian people. As an advocacy group, SJP believes that key principles grounded in international law, human rights, and basic standards of justice dictate concrete steps that will be fundamental to a fair and lasting resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Contact: Facebook – USC Students for Justice in Palestine (USC SJP)

Trojans for Equality

Trojans for Equality is a student initiative that focuses on promoting issues of equality to the USC campus community in the form of events, co-sponsorships or discussions. The goal is to be a pro-active organization that keeps queer equality in the campus consciousness beyond Proposition 8 and to provide wider education about equality within the campus community. 


The Daily Trojan, Free Expression, and What It Means to Be a “Student” Newspaper, by Max

August 27, 2011

Newspapers have served as the watchdog of the powerful since their beginnings. In countless instances, “the news” has amplified the voices of the disenfranchised and oppressed. The Daily Trojan prints off approximately 10,000 copies per issue and likely gets again as many readers on its website (1). As such, it is by far the primary source of information and news for students and staff covering university matters. This means that the spokesperson role falls heavily upon the Daily Trojan newspaper; it has a duty to its readership to report not only on game days and speakers, but also to peer into the sometimes unpleasant crevices of the university. Unfortunately, this is not often the case. Why? As one must do to ascertain how any institution works, we must look at the fine print of the DT’s own structure and at the details of its past actions, not it’s professed values, to see how it operates and if it truly is a “student newspaper” (2).

The DT has a “staff of about 200 to 250 writers, editors, photographers, artists and designers” (3). The editor-in-chief (EIC) is elected for each semester and, according to the DT’s “Guidelines for Operation,” “shall have complete authority over content and editorial policy of the paper and shall be answerable in these matters only to the President of the University. The editor has final responsibility for judging what is suitable for publication” (2). Continuing on these official guidelines, “The editor of the Daily Trojan shall be appointed by the President of the University upon recommendation of the Student Media Board,” and “The Student Media Board shall be chaired by the Vice-President of Student Affairs and shall consist of equal numbers of faculty of the School of Journalism (including the editorial advisor to the Daily Trojan) and staff of the Division of Student Affairs (including the Director of Student Publications). The membership shall include also the editor of the Daily Trojan, the general manager of KSCR, the president of the student government association, and the director of the student news service” (2).

There are a number of bottlenecks in the process of choosing an EIC that are not in fact determined by students and that restrict DT staff independence. The Student Media Board is charged with choosing the EIC, but the Board itself is chaired by a USC vice-president, and consists of equal (though unspecified) numbers of journalism faculty and Student Affairs staff, neither of which are students. The student element of the Board members is the standing DT EIC, the manager of the student radio station, and the student government president (I have no idea who the “director of the student news service” is. Try googling it yourself for an answer). Overall, it appears there are 3 students on this board and the rest are staff, faculty, and its chair is a USC vice president. With this mostly non-student board, the EIC is still only recommended to the university president who then makes the final decision and who has the unilateral power to remove the editor. It’s hard to see how the paper can sincerely reflect a diversity of student voices, especially when they are critical of USC, when its EIC is so thoroughly determined by people who are not students and thus has different interests and priorities.

The financial structure of the DT is also riddled with potential conflicts of interest. USC likes to advertise that “the Daily Trojan receives no financial support from the university or from Student Senate funding allocations and is wholly supported by advertising revenue” (2). However, the DT does receive “other resources, like office space and legal counsel, from the university” (4). Former editor of the DT, Brendaon Loy, summed it up on his blog:

The administration holds various unspoken trump cards that would allow it to “squeeze” the DT if it ever really wanted to. Chief among these is that roughly half the ads in the paper, and thus roughly half the advertising revenue, comes from the university … Moreover, said staff wouldn’t have offices, and there wouldn’t be anywhere to print those 8 pages, because the university could take away the DT’s office space in the Student Union building” (5).

The real concern raised by this analysis comes from instances whereupon this structure has been used to subvert students’ voices. In 2006 the USC administration blatantly violated student concerns over the election of the EIC in just the way one might expect from the DT’s “Guidelines for Operation.”

On November 8th, 2006, Zach Fox, then editor-in-chief, was reelected by the DT staff by a margin of 37-21 to be the EIC in the coming spring semester (6). Having been at the head of the DT for 3 months and worked for them previously, his campaign claimed some aspects of the DT needed reorganizing to spread around responsibility more evenly and thought that the DT staff should have access to the financial documents of the paper, something obvious and crucial if the DT were to be a truly student newspaper (1). As the vote showed, a large majority of the students who worked at the DT thought this was a good idea.

On November 28th, Michael L. Jackson, the Vice-President of Student Affairs (who holds this position today), decided not to pass along the staff recommendation of Fox for approval by the Media Board, effectively vetoing the students’ democratic vote. For the next two days, Jackson refused to comment on the decision, breaking all trust between the administration and the allegedly student-run paper. Zach Fox resigned in protest.

Jackson’s decision sparked a wide-spread outcry from USC students, journalism students across the country, faculty, and parents. 21 former editors of the DT—including alumni holding positions at the NY Times, the LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune—wrote a letter to the Media Board on the situation (7) stating that “The administration is committing a grave transgression in violating the paper’s rights to editorial freedom and self-determination. Its actions in this matter damage the reputation and integrity of both the University of Southern California and the Daily Trojan” and that Jackson’s refusal to comment on his decision constituted “perhaps arrogance, perhaps cowardice, but it is certainly not leadership.”

A few days later, 18 college student newspapers, including the official papers at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, ran an identical editorial (8) on the DT events that include the following excerpts:

If campus newspapers are to succeed in informing readers and training reporters, they must be more than public relations arms of universities, and they cannot operate under the yoke of administrators’ censorship.”

The USC administration’s interference with the student press creates a chilling effect, forcing student journalists to weigh the risk of losing their jobs against the duty of writing a story about or questioning the administration.”

John Ketler, a professor of media law at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism, said, “It tromps all over the reason for having a student newspaper in the first place … How can you have a student voice with the students being throttled by the administration? The [faculty] I’ve spoken with are outraged” (9).

Due to the vitriolic response, Vice-President Jackson partially recanted and scheduled a second election whereby he would not block a re-election of Fox, but Fox would not be on the second vote ballot and would have to be a write-in candidate. If Jackson had the authority to invalidate a DT staff vote, he obviously had the power to re-validate it but ultimately chose not to.

In the end, Fox thought that the best thing for the DT reforms he advocated was for his ally and friend, Jeremy Beecher, to run in his place. Despite an impassioned speech by the opposing candidate who blasted Fox and Beecher and praised the administration’s actions, Beecher won the staff vote 36-4 and was then approved by the Media Board.

The administration caved to some of Fox and Beecher’s demands, like giving access of the financial records to DT staff, but real change remained illusory. After three months of Beecher as EIC, Fox wrote in a DT editorial that the administration had “forced the new editor in chief, Jeremy Beecher, to conform to the existing job description: micromanagement” and that “the fact remains that university administrators direct the newspaper’s resources in the university’s interest.” (1).

The above case illustrates how the governing and funding structures of the DT allow the administration to override the “student” element of being a “student newspaper”.

As someone who has written articles for the DT over 2 semesters and has friends who have been DT writers and felt the same way, there is a kind of unspoken rule against criticizing the university beyond polite appeals for change. In my own experience, I engaged in a kind of self-censorship, watering down my opinion pieces, because I knew that certain things would not make it through the editorial process, and even then my articles were often re-written to an extent with which I was very uncomfortable. I would voice my concerns and demand to see the edits of my articles before they were published, but more often than not I would still not be given that basic level of respect. I suspect this is in part what Zach Fox was referring to when he called the DT “disorganized.”

Sherry Wang, a friend, former DT writer, and colleague in writing for this publication, had her articles censored on a level I had not heard of before but I imagine is all too common for those whose writing lies outside certain parameters. She wrote an article on the hazardous chemicals used in disposable menstrual pads and on alternative products that can be used in their place. She was told by her editor that the article was not appropriate for publication and thereby refused to include it or to even work with her to make it publishable. This is repulsive both for its censoring of content relating to woman’s sexual health, which ultra-conservative elements of society have long considered taboo, and its relevance to chemical pollution and environmental issues.

The next article Sherry submitted was an opinion piece critical of the USC administration’s dealings with the National Union of Healthcare Workers, who represented thousands of employees at USC’s recently acquired hospital, in their ongoing contract negotiations. Having not received a response from her editor for a few days, Sherry asked her editor at an end-of-the-semester DT dinner about it and was told that the piece was “too newsy” for an opinion article. To Sherry and this author, that seemed more like an excuse not to print the article as we found its content opinionated and well documented. Due to finals coming up and a general frustration with the DT, Sherry opted not to invest the time to fight her editor and subsequently stopped writing for the DT.

Without much information on the circumstances of the editor, one can do little more than speculate as to whether politics was responsible for withholding Sherry’s piece. Maybe the editor already had enough articles to finish out the semester or somehow lost track of the article. Maybe the editor’s own politics persuaded her to not work with Sherry on the piece. Or, as the evidence from her previous article rejection might suggest, perhaps Sherry had once again crossed an unspoken line of what was considered “appropriate” for the DT.

All of this isn’t to say that the DT isn’t worth reading. They have a large and hardworking staff that is far more comprehensive of its coverage of USC current events than any alternative. Some of its content is well-written and important. Nonetheless, the DT has certain constraints placed upon it by the administration that have the potential to limit student control of the paper as well as tilt the ideological bias in favor of USC.

If you are interested in critical perspectives from sources not influenced by USC’s official line, check out alternative publications like Black Student Voices (10), look for future issues of this zine (11), or start your own.

If you or your friends write for the DT and have felt your writing isn’t being respected, please feel free to contact us ( and we’d be happy to support any effort to further democratize the DT and ensure that student voices be heard.

Sources Cited



3. Fox, Zach. “Former Editor Says USC Daily Trojan Disorganized.” The Daily Trojan, 3-22-07

4. Farrel, Elizabeth F. “USC Bars Student Newspaper’s Editor From Reassuming His Position.The Chronicle of Higher Education. 12-15-06








Women at USC: Things to Know

August 27, 2011

The frat email fiasco

Last spring, a nearly 2000-word email (1) that was circulated among members of USC’s Kappa Sigma fraternity was leaked to the feminist blog The email included the following statements:

I will refer to females as “targets”. They aren’t actual people like us men. Consequently, giving them a certain name or distinction is pointless.”

Non-consent and rape are two different things. There is a fine line, so make sure not to cross it.”

Don’t fuck middle-eastern targets. Exhibit some patriotism and have some pride.”

In the days following the initial leak, competing claims contested the email’s origins. An internal investigation by Kappa Sigma concluded that they could not find who the author of the email was (2). USC’s response was seen by many as inadequate (3)(4) and the resulting nontransparent and delayed USC investigation claimed that the email’s author was not a USC student (2). A woman, who claimed to know the author and that he was a Kappa Sigma member and USC student, contacted with a detailed account of how the email came about (5). Given the extreme lack of details on the part of USC’s and Kappa Sigma’s investigations and the woman’s extensive documenting of the events, many concerned students (including the authors of this guide) were much more inclined to believe the latter, especially amid rumors that many other people knew the author of the email and confirmed the woman’s story.

The email led activists to plan the “USC Walkout for a Safer Campus” in front of Bovard demanding that USC take appropriate action to keep students safe from sexual violence which attracted roughly 200 people and was the largest USC student demonstration in years. While certainly all members of fraternities don’t hold the views expounded in the email, it’s worth noting how extreme forms of misogyny permeate certain sectors of college culture and questioning these attitudes wherever they may be found.


The Row

Excerpts from a previous article in this publication written by “Thumper” regarding the row (6):

Bring friends you know you can trust and designate someone to be a sober person that can watch you. Have someone available on campus that you can call to pick you up …. Go to the row. Get your free buzz. But be smart.

An anonymous alumni recounts that she woke up in a frat house, not remembering anything from the night before, and having signs of being violated. Her sorority house has a policy of not informing the police about such matters, and they brought her home, rather than the hospital, where she probably should have gone. Sadly, such stories are common, and incidents are vastly underreported.”

One of our writers recounted how a friend had been at a fraternity party and had declined to have sex with a guy, who then replied, “You have to learn to submit. Welcome to USC.”


Sexual assault in college

A 2000 research report conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice under the US Department of Justice found “that the women at a college that has 10,000 female students [USC has more than 18,000] could experience more than 350 rapes a year” (7). The report then states that “many women do not characterize their sexual victimizations as a crime for a number of reasons (such as embarrassment, not clearly understanding the legal definition of rape, or not wanting to define someone they know who victimized them as a rapist) or because they blame themselves for their sexual assault. The study reinforces the importance of many organizations’ efforts to improve education and knowledge about sexual assault.”

Furthermore, it is important to note that sexual assaults don’t only happen at any single space either. The row is not the only place where these incidents take place. Being alert and aware at all events and parties is necessary, regardless of the venue.


The Center for Women and Men

The mission from their website (8):

The USC Center for Women & Men exists to facilitate the success of students, faculty and staff by providing innovative opportunities for leadership and scholarship and by offering advocacy and confidential counseling to those who have experienced gender-related harm. Through its educational programs, the Center fosters a better understanding of feminism, healthy masculinity and gender equity. Above all, The USC Center for Women & Men serves as a haven for students, staff and faculty.

The Center fosters an environment that enriches the USC experience across lines of gender, race, ethnicity, class, ability and sexual orientation by:

  1. Offering educational programs that help prevent sexual violence and create healthy relationships.
  2. Serving as a safe, confidential space for survivors of sexual assault and other gender-related harm to receive counseling and advocacy.
  3. Providing programs that develop and apply leadership skills.
  4. Collaborating with student groups and other campus offices committed to addressing gender-related topics.”

Contact and 24-hour crisis counseling: (213) 740-4900
Location: Student Union, Suite 202C


Reproductive Health Resources

Planned Parenthood

400 West 30th Street (just a few blocks NE of campus)

Los Angeles, CA

(213) 284-3200

Planned Parenthood offers a lot of services, including almost every kind of birth control, from orthotri-cyclen (the daily pill) to IUD, which is an electrode implanted in your uterus. They also offer pregnancy tests, abortion, testing for every STI including HIV, and it is very friendly to men and women as well as trans. They are highly anonymous and they do not ask for proof of insurance or identification. PP is open Monday-Saturday, but Wednesdays are appointment-only and no walk-ins. Please be aware that if you do a walk-in the wait can be up to 2 hours. Every day except Wednesday the walk-in hours are 8 am – 3 pm. You can call 1-888-633-0433 to make an appointment. Planned Parenthood has a sliding pay-scale for services based on income.

The Health Center on campus on 34th St. is another good resource for reproductive health (9). According to the woman who provided this info for the zine, the Health Center can be somewhat expensive even with the student health insurance plan and she thinks Planned Parenthood generally has a more welcoming atmosphere.


Negative stereotypes of women in academia and how to counter their effects

There are a lot of stereotypes about what members of specific genders are good or bad in certain academic subjects (the points discussed here apply equally to other marginalized social groups, including those of race or class). For instance, relatively few professors of math or engineering in academia, including USC, are women. This has been in part attributed to the effects of what is called the “stereotype threat,” which is the experience of anxiety of being in a situation where one might confirm a negative stereotype of their social group. Research has shown that this is a significant factor in women’s under-performance in traditionally male areas of study, which has lead fewer women to become professors in these fields.

The stereotype threat can be eliminated or reduced in a number of ways. Being in a stereotype threat situation, one study has shown that one can consciously recognize the existing stereotypes and how it is relevant to the moment they’re in and reaffirm to themselves how they are just as capable in terms of gender at performing well as anyone else (10). This has the effect of eliminating the negative effect on performance. Another study showed that having students writing about their values before a class had the effect of significantly raising woman test scores relative to their counterparts in the hard sciences and engineering (11). Another study showed that having a woman professor teaching a class that was traditionally man-dominated eliminated virtually all of the gender disparity in performance (12), presumably by the professor’s gender challenging the image of the typical guy professor and thus subconsciously breaking down the idea that women are less capable in that field. Furthermore, having women professors in these fields has no effect on men’s performance, perhaps because there are not any relevant negative stereotypes about them. These are some of the techniques one can use to break out limits placed upon us unconsciously by social norms.


The market of debt-ridden female college students

A recent article in the Huffington Post titled, “Seeking Arrangement: College Students Using ‘Sugar Daddies’ To Pay Off Loan Debt,” documents the increasingly popular phenomenon of “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies” (13). In this context, the former are rich older men who are attracted to 20 year-olds but who no longer have the normal means to meet young women and sleep with them while the latter are female college students or recent grads who are riddled with debt and have few prospects in the current economic downturn. Websites exist that help facilitate bringing together these “mutually beneficial relationships,” as they are advertised. The article relates how these websites facilitate not exactly prostitution (which is illegal in 49 states), but something very close to it.

One of the most-used of these sites listed the 20 colleges where they have the most registered students and alumni from, and USC ranked 15th. With a yearly tuition of $55,578, this is hardly surprising. One can not blame women with few financial options for participating in these arrangements so as not to go without shelter or food, but it is horrifying that old rich horny men are able to buy women’s bodies just because those women did the responsible thing and went to college and had to borrow money to pay for it. All of the economic factors, including USC’s skyrocketing tuition, that leads to this prostitution are complicit.

Sources Cited














Activism at USC: Further Points

August 27, 2011

Activism Needs All Kinds of People and Skills

Activism is about imagining a world and bringing it into being (the writers of this guide place a high value on true democracy). This involves working to change or wipe away existing institutions while creating our own institutions in their place.

Activism doesn’t just need people who can stand on street corners and ask people to sign petitions. Activism needs everyone because an imagined world that leaves out some people or skills would not be a democratic place. Activism needs people with business skills who can help create better companies; we need engineers and designers who can craft tools and technology that facilitates accessibility and self-determination; we need sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and economists to help us understand ourselves and the possibilities of a more free society; we need journalists who can document our struggles; we need artists who can inspire us to dream fearlessly.

A better world needs these and all other kinds of thinkers and doers.



USC Can’t Punish You for Speaking Out or Protesting Peacefully

In talking to some students, even ones who belong to activist organizations on campus, we’ve realized that there is a fear in being critical of or protesting a USC policy. While it’s true that our janitors, hospital workers, and cafeteria workers face possible suspension or termination for such actions, and that professors on their 6-year positions leading to whether or not they receive tenure can face serious and informal repercussions, students themselves are extremely well-protected from such retribution.

Especially if you are acting within or alongside student groups, any USC-originated punishments for acting or speaking out peacefully would, and has before, provoked strong student, faculty, and public outcry and that’s something that the USC administration cannot afford.

If you have the slightest hesitation about this or want clarification or reassurance, a great person to contact is Heather Larabee ( 213-740-5693), assistant dean of students and director of Campus Activities, who will assure you with the full authority of the Division of Student Affairs how there is nothing to worry about.



Don’t Take Our Word for It

The arguments made in this guide about how USC operates are just that: arguments. We hope you consider them alongside whatever other arguments and narratives you hear about USC. Moreover, we encourage you to go to the primary sources—many of which are directly quoted and cited in this guide—regarding USC policy to interpret their meanings and implications for yourself. If anything in this guide made you think, made you angry, made you shake your head, or even made you want to dispute the claims you’ve read, email us at with your thoughts, and we’d be more than happy to have a conversation with you.

So … who are we? + Statement of Principles + Upcoming Events

August 27, 2011

So … Who Are We?

We’re a group of USC students who are dissatisfied with the status quo and who find existing campus publications to be lacking perspectives and quality content (a number of us are former writers for the Daily Trojan). We want this zine to be the voice of those critical of mainstream politics at USC.

Have you ever had the urge to write an article about something that you found offensive? Or needed to tell others about some great new organization or idea? We’re always looking for more students to contribute articles and art pieces. To submit an article or come to a meeting, please contact us at You can find all current and past zine content online at For info about activism, contact

Statement of Principles

I. The Undercurrent is an outlet for non-mainstream views on politics and culture expressed through reasoned argument or in a creative manner. We define mainstream as standard partisan political views. We seek to provide alternative interpretations of world events and to bring attention to those stories that are under-reported.

II. We oppose all forms of oppression, domination, and alienation. We strive to promote social justice, human rights, and direct democracy in the USC community and anywhere else we can effect change.

III. Anyone can submit content. To be seriously considered for publication, all submissions must provide evidence, be consistent with The Undercurrent’s principles, and go through a group editing process. Nonfiction submissions should provide evidence and sources.

IV. We function as a non-hierarchical, non-commercial, democratically run cooperative. The Undercurrent is freely distributed and relies on donations for publication materials.

Upcoming Events

USC Involvement Fair Fall 2011

11:00 – 2:00, Trousdale Ave. (in front of Bovard and Doheny)

-All major USC student organizations will have tables here to advertise for themselves. Keep an eye out for the political orgs listed later in this guide.

Political Activist Orientations

Friday, August 26th at 3:00 in THH 106

Thursday, September 1st at 6:00, VKC 105

Friday, September 2nd at 3:00 in THH 106

-These will involve brief presentations by the progressive activist organizations on campus, a chance to ask questions of orgs and their members, and an opportunity to get to know other students interested in social justice.

Social Justice Party

September 2nd at 9:00 PM location TBA (contact for details)

– Come and kick back with some of the incredible activists here at SC. It’ll be a relaxing night filled with music, refreshments, and awesome people.

An Evening with Maya Angelou

Wednesday, September 7th at 7:00 in Bovard Auditorium.

-World-renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou gives a talk at USC.

Back Cover

August 27, 2011