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USC president urges students not to attend raves because of drug dangers [Updated]

January 26, 2011 |  4:33 pm

Click to read the entire letter The president of USC is warning students not to attend raves, saying that a drug commonly used at the all-night dance parties, Ecstasy, “can create a ripple effect of dangers that lead to catastrophic consequences.”

“I wish to warn you about a specific danger that has become increasingly prevalent in the city of Los Angeles: raves. Occasionally, these are held close to our campuses, often at the Coliseum or the Shrine, and they present serious risks to all who attend,” USC President C.L. Max Nikias wrote in the letter, first reported by the Neon Tommy website.

"Ecstasy, which is common at raves, produces a number of adverse reactions that may include disorientation, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks and hallucinations. These reactions, even in mild forms, can create a ripple effect of dangers that lead to catastrophic consequences,” Nikias wrote. “Therefore, with the collective support of the university’s senior administration -- and as the father of two USC students -- I strongly discourage your participation at rave events.”

DOCUMENT: Read the letter from USC President C.L. Max Nikias warning students about raves

[Updated at 6:15 p.m.: Pasquale Rotella, the owner of Insomniac Inc., one of two companies that hold raves at the Los Angeles Coliseum and Sports Arena, issued a statement in response to the USC president’s letter:

"USC offers great courses in electronic music taught by respected and accomplished professors. Given this support and USC’s dedication to the arts in general, the president’s advice to the students is surprising. Students can walk to our events that combine every aspect of the performing arts, including dance, music, art, costumes, lighting and production design. Insomniac’s events aim to cultivate and enrich the human mind and spirit through the arts -- a goal that is perfectly in tune with USC’s own mission statement. We are eager to meet with President Nikias to provide more information to him and to address his concerns. We value the support of USC’s students as well as the administration."]

The letter by Nikias, dated Wednesday, was released a week before the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission will meet, where it might discuss whether to bring back the Electric Daisy Carnival rave in June. A 15-year-old girl, Sasha Rodriguez, overdosed on Ecstasy at that rave last year, fell into a coma and subsequently died.

The letter also came about two months after an 18-year-old USC freshman who had been partying at a rave at the Shrine Auditorium later fell six stories from his USC dorm room. The student, who appeared to have consumed alcohol, marijuana, and Ecstasy, suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries and was hospitalized in critical condition after the fall.

USC is in negotiations with the state of California to buy the land on which the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena sit, which would make the university the landlord of the Coliseum Commission.

The next meeting of the Coliseum Commission will be held Feb. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at the commission meeting room near Gate 33-A on the eastern edge of the Coliseum. An agenda for that meeting has not yet been posted.


[Updated at 11:26 p.m.: Full story: USC president urges students to not attend raves]

17 hospitalized after rave at Los Angeles Sports Arena

L.A. Coliseum Commission rescinds rave moratorium in a move called 'underhanded' by one member

-- Rong-Gong Lin II