USC Admins “Painfully Aware” of LAPD's Troubled Past Involving Minorities

A letter went out to students a week after LAPD officers in riot gear broke up a black student's party.

A top University of Southern California administrator on Saturday proposed plans to improve the relationship between students and Los Angeles police after dozens of officers in riot gear broke up a party held by black students last week.

The May 4 incident led to accusations of racial profiling -- especially because the 79 officers who responded largely ignored a party held by white students across the street. Three days later, the university held a fiery community forum that drew more than 1,000 people and included police, students and university officials.

USC Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Jackson wrote in a letter to students (PDF) that the university is awaiting the results of an LAPD internal investigation, but acknowledged the LAPD's troubled past.

"We remain keenly and painfully aware that Friday night's events were not only about USC and its students," the letter said. "They underscore a historical lack of transparency and accountability between law enforcement and residents that has plagued minority communities in Los Angeles for decades."

The letter was signed by Jackson and four others, including a student, another administrator, an alumnus and the chief of the campus police department.

The letter proposed creating a working group comprised of USC students, nearby residents, representatives from the Los Angeles and campus police departments, USC administrators and faculty.

It also suggested reviewing the way that campus police and the LAPD respond to noise complaints near the university, as well as educating students and nearby residents about their rights and responsibilities.

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