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UCLA-USC rivalry week claims casualty as The Bruin statue is splattered in cardinal and gold paint [Updated]

The Bruin

Authorities are trying to determine this morning who splashed cardinal and gold paint -- USC school colors -- all over a statue of the UCLA Bruin mascot on the Westwood campus.

Police say the prank is being treated as a felony vandalism investigation.

UCLA students The Bruins and Trojans will meet Saturday in the traditional crosstown football game, and UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said it's unclear when the statue, which had been wrapped to protect it from harm, was vandalized. But it could have been between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. today, when the paint-splattered bear was discovered. [Updated at 10:02 a.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly indicated that the game was Thursday.]

Despite the heated passions of rivalry week, there have been few pranks because officials from both universities have taken steps in recent years to protect icons on campus from vandalism.

The statue sits in Bruin Plaza and was unveiled in 1984, Hampton said. Since 1999, school officials have  protected the statue with a tarp during rivalry week, telling students the bear is hibernating.

At USC, campus officials wrap the Tommy Trojan statue and students have taken to guarding the statue in shifts. There was no reported retaliation. 

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photos: Top, maintenance workers clean up the paint on the Bruin statue at UCLA. Bottom, students gather to see the defaced mascot. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (134)

oh grow up, commenters. read up on your history of this rivalry-- this is not the first, nor, i suspect, the last time this will happen. far worse has happened in both cases, such as full on theft and even a near calling-off of the rivalry by both university presidents.

i must say that usc does far better than a silly tarp to protect BOTH mascots on campus. and no one is feeling anxious about the game saturday-- bruin leftovers will be added to the thanksgiving ones. FIGHT ON!

Seriously? Felony vandalism? Cops in LA have way too much time on their hands. How about chasing some taggers instead?

It's time to lighten up for everyone and since when good old rivalry fun became a felony?

Felony prosecutions?!? You gotta be kidding...this is just good, healthy collegiate sports rivalry & most of the comments here reflect that (special props to "troyboy" for his classic zinger)!!

This a NATIONWIDE tradition that has existed between schools such as Michigan State and Notre Dame for many decades...packs of students there make the 150-mile journey almost every year to splatter paint on the "Sparty" statue and its Irish equivalent!!

So lighten up on the "felony prosecution" nonsense...the LAPD has enough LEGIT crime to worry about!!

Absolutely SKR! Time to dust off the helicopter!

Absolutely SKR! Time to dust off the helicopter!

You call this "taking the rivalry too far?"
Are you kidding?
That's why USC vs. UCLA is hardly a rivalry.
See real rivalries with numerous pranks involved from both sides, check Cal-Stanford rivalry, then come back to tell me painting a statue is "taking it too far."

But USC owns the police!

Hope the bRUINS do a better job protecting their quaterback than they did the bear this weekend..Fight On!!!!!!

I think "cut-throat" students (no pun intended) are far more egregious than some innocuous prank.

so annoying that spoiled kids do this to each other schools when of course the minority population has to clean up the rich white jock kids mess.
wish it was the UCLA team members cleaning it up. but they are too precious.

mm... it looks like a hungry bear ate a Trojan for me.
Go Bruins! Eat 'em all at the game too!

Game ? What? A game? I just want to say,..."Beyonce made the best video ever..."

Judging by the quality of the comments from the $UC fans and students,one would think that they were rabid supporters of an elementary school. Fight on indeed,and perhaps you will graduate to middle school!


http://aplusmathnscience.com/

I go back to to the 40's and early 50's when UCLA had the Bond fires on campus till someone put dyamite in the fire that was some night.

Lighten up you hall monitor types.

Now, you want good natured hooliganism...bring back the football game between the USC and UCLA bands. Fight On!

I am personally a UCLA fan, but I honestly think this is hilarious. I love the idea of some fun rivaly, as long as no one is hurt or the statues arent stolen.

This is a very long-run tradition, let's not ruin the fun!
Prosecution is what's 'taking it too far.'

[and I agree, those colors are red and yellow. forget the 'cardinal and gold']

I am all for rivalry... but painting Tommy the Trojan with blue, WATER-BASED paint that peels or washes off is a lot different than painting the bear with OIL-BASED paint that requires acetone to remove (which is a health hazard and removes the antiquing from the bear, which then has to be restored).

Congratulations to the Trojans for getting to the Bruin Bear! Bruins, this means we need to step it up with security. What happened to the 24 hour guard on the bear when I was at UCLA? Next year's Bruins should really think about bringing that back. :)

That's a prank?

Rival schools in the global capital of creative industries battle it out by dressing their iconic statues in tutus or angel wings or outfitting them with laser beams on their heads or...?

No, they throw buckets of paint.

Seriously.

This is low, I feel embarrassed as a USC student. And I'm a pretty rabid Trojan football fan too. I really find it hard to believe some of our students did this...

It just doesn't make sense. I heard that both statues are supposed to be protected, right? I wouldn't be surprised if UCLA students did it themselves to get their team and fans fired up.

This is low, I feel embarrassed as a USC student. And I'm a pretty rabid Trojan football fan too. I really find it hard to believe some of our students did this...

It just doesn't make sense. I heard that both statues are supposed to be protected, right? I wouldn't be surprised if UCLA students did it themselves to get their team and fans fired up.

lol chill out everyone i don't even go to UCLA or USC (have lots of friends at each) but even at a CSU the mascots get a little paint on them and it doesn't escalate in to felony vandalism that needs any Police Department to take action. just let us college kids be college kids and do stupid stuff like this. besides what happened, i remember a friend telling me that there's usually 24 hours guard for these mascots during rivalry week?

lol chill out everyone i don't even go to UCLA or USC (have lots of friends at each) but even at a CSU the mascots get a little paint on them and it doesn't escalate in to felony vandalism that needs any Police Department to take action. just let us college kids be college kids and do stupid stuff like this. besides what happened, i remember a friend telling me that there's usually 24 hours guard for these mascots during rivalry week?

I'm a UCLA student and I even just see this as part of the rivalry - no big deal. Let everyone have their fun.

But what happened to the 24 hour student guard of the bruin bear?!

This is the "updated" version of the article. The author originally had the teams playing the game on Thanksgiving Day, not Saturday which is the actual date.

Author must be a Bruin.

Man, I feel for the facilities staff having to spend the day with scrub brushes and paint thinner just for the sake of an uncreative stunt like this. The kids calling this a harmless prank should have to scrub it off themselves, since it is apparently no big deal to them.

 
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