Thursday, September 21

Students need to heed prank war’s call

Vandalism of the Bruin Bear highlights necessity of a security force focused on actual security


Alene Tchekmedyian

Some say the rivalry has been fizzling recently, especially when it comes to the prank war.

The UCLA-USC rivalry pranks used to be much more elaborate than throwing paint at each others’ statues.

In the past, pranks have included thefts, sabotaged card stunts at football games, fake newspapers, kidnappings, statue arm cuttings and even a manure dropping, which all tell of a better time in the prank war.

But the rivalry is most definitely alive and well. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times,, numerous blogs and both school newspapers have discussed the rivalry in the past week.

And if that is not enough, the near-scuffle at the end of the game Saturday should make it clear that Los Angeles is a split town.

Recently, the red and yellow paint that was thrown at the Bruin statue early Wednesday served as a painful reminder that the rivalry is real and that we need to step up our security.

To be sure, Tommy Trojan was indeed splashed with blue paint last year, and so this Trojan prank ranks low on the originality scale.

But the Trojans one-upped us by getting us during rivalry week and during the revival of the Bruin Bear Security Force after it was on hiatus for a year.

As it turns out, the security force was commissioned by the office of General Representative 3 to “supplement” the Beat ‘SC festivities, not to camp out and protect the Bear, according to General Representative Thach Nguyen.

Granted that last year, there was no Bruin Bear Security Force at all, Nguyen’s office should be commended for bringing back the program.

But there is much to be said about the fact that there was still no planned campout to protect the Bruin.

For starters, the so-called Security Force was a three-night event, planned to end at 1 a.m. after Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night festivities. There were no actual tents or lawn chairs for security duty.

If there is going to be a security force, it needs to be an all-night event for the entire week.

Anyone who is planning a mascot prank would be foolish to plan it before 1 a.m. anyway.

Another inherent flaw is that Bear protection on Wednesday night through Saturday was completely unplanned for.

There is something to be said about false sense of security we as students received from the canvas “hibernation” protection facilities put around the bear.

But this is obviously not enough.

Now it should be clear that it is easy to blame Nguyen’s office or the Rally Committee, but in all honesty, we as students are all to blame.

It is shameful that there was no one protecting the bear Wednesday through Saturday, or for that matter all of last year’s Beat ‘SC Week.

This is because UCLA is a huge bureaucracy and different groups, organizations and branches of student government could take the responsibility of protecting the bear during Beat ‘SC Week.

But the ultimate responsibility falls on all of us as students. I feel personally responsible for the paint thrown at the Bruin.

I am calling on student groups and all students to come together to revamp Bruin Bear Security Force for 2010.

The Den, student government, Rally Committee and Student Alumni Association all have a vested interest in the protection of the Bruin Bear during rivalry week and I think it needs to be a collaborative effort of some sort by these groups.

There does not need to be a carnival, such as the one put on last week, even though that brings in many more students, according to Nguyen.

It needs to be a handful of students in chairs guarding our beloved Bruin and stopping Trojans that dare mess with him ““ nothing fancy, just what is necessary.

“We hope this (last) week’s incident with the Bruin will inspire the current UCLA student body to take necessary measures to ensure it never happens again.” wrote the editors of Bruins Nation, a popular UCLA sports blog, in an e-mail.

It is not easy to camp out to protect the Bear because the game usually falls on Thanksgiving, tenth or finals week.

But it is necessary and bad timing should not stop us.

The USC equivalent of the Bruin Bear Security Force planned to serve Thanksgiving dinner in front of the Tommy Trojan statue on Thursday, according to the Daily Trojan. Just the fact that they planned it shows a higher level of dedication than we have.

If they can do it, we should be able to do it better.

The rivalry game next year falls on the Saturday after 10th week.

The student body and the specific groups mentioned earlier should start planning the camp out now.

I promise that I will personally be out there next year, and if any of those groups needs or wants my help, my e-mail address is listed below.

If you consider yourself a Bruin, you have sung the following lines many times. But it is time that this be turned into a security force mantra: “And when they chance to see, a man from USC, every Bruin starts to roar!”

If you’re already planning to guard the Bruin Bear in 2010 e-mail Ramzanali at [email protected] Send general comments to

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