November 1, 2018
To: USC Students
Every Friday, my office hours are devoted to hearing from students. Any student enrolled at USC is welcomed to schedule time on my calendar to talk about whatever is on their mind. I have learned a lot from these conversations. In October, I had a Friday conversation that rattled me to my core. My guest shared with me her observations about the regularity of nonconsensual drugging occurring at parties near campus. She explained that among her friends, everyone had a story about someone believing they has been drugged. Her observation is that this happens so frequently that few bother to report it and the expectation of being drugged has become normalized.
First, this behavior is a crime and will not be tolerated in our community. Students and organizations that are found responsible for “spiking drinks” will be punished to the fullest extent of the law and face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the University. I strongly urge students who have information about possible nonconsensual drugging activity to share it with the Department of Public Safety or the Office of Professionalism and Ethics.
Second, this Community Safety Advisory is offered to reduce the possibility of experiencing a drugging and emphasize our shared responsibility to take action against this behavior. For our safety:
- Do not leave your drink unattended: Take your drink with you or give it to a friend to guard. If you have to leave your drink, get a new one when you return.
- Open your own beverage: Drink from a bottle and watch the top being removed by the bartender. Do not accept an open drink offered to you in a plastic cup.
- Don’t share drinks with other people: This could be a ruse to lull you into a false sense of security. You never know what is in another person’s drink and just because they can handle it doesn’t mean you can.
- Look for signs of tampering: These include if your drink was moved from where you left it, the straw was taken out or a new one put in, there is less or more liquid than you remember, odd bubbling or fizzing, a different color or odor, floaters of any kind, empty medicinal packets next to the drink or on the floor.
- Stop drinking anything that tastes funny: If your drink tastes unusual, stop and don’t consume any more. Immediately presume the situation has become unsafe and leave as soon as possible, or grab a friend to stay with or, better yet, leave together.
- Seek immediate medical attention: If you believe you may have been drugged, seek immediate medical attention from an emergency department.
Nonconsensual drugging is a crime and a serious violation of our community standards. Everyone’s help is required to rid our community of this behavior. Reporting these incidents is fundamental to prevention. If you or someone you know believe you have been drugged, please immediately report the incident to the Department of Public Safety at 213-740-4321 or to the Los Angeles Police Department. If you have information about possible drugging activity that is not an immediate safety concern, please call USC’s Office of Professionalism and Ethics at (213) 740-5755 or report the information through the LiveSafe App.