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USC students protest explicit fraternity email, campus culture

April 4, 2011 |  4:58 pm

More than 100 USC students protested Monday against a controversial, sexually explicit email that was passed among fraternities on the campus last month. They called on university officials and the student body to take stronger action against what they described as an unhealthy campus culture that tolerates sexual harassment against women.

The demonstration was organized by Safe USC, a group that formed after the email circulated across campus and beyond. Students and faculty marched in a circle near the Tommy Trojan statue in the center of the University Park campus, carrying signs and chanting slogans including “Our bodies, our lives; our campus, our rights.” 

“I expect my campus to provide a safe and pressure-free environment,” said Alicia Lu, a 22-year-old senior and a protest organizer. She also criticized administrators' judgment as "misguided, and not enough.” 

Michael L. Jackson, vice president for student affairs at USC and the subject of some of the criticism, took the microphone toward the end of the demonstration. He condemned the email, which rated women in explicit sexual terms, as “the most repugnant thing I’ve ever read." Jackson said a continuing conversation on campus about the issues was crucial. 

“We are willing to work with anyone who has better ideas for improving what we do,” Jackson said to the crowd that minutes before had been chanting “We want action, Dr. Jackson.”

“Don’t be silent," he said. "Do make your voices heard.”

-- Rick Rojas

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