Red Zoom Background with yellow stripes in the the middle saying Class of 2024

To the Trojan Community:

I’m writing to give you an update.

The recent events at USC have been hard on all of us – I know you’re seeing it, hearing it, and that you have many questions about how we’re maintaining safety, honoring free speech, and ensuring we can host our 141st commencement to give our graduates the celebration they have earned.

We’re working hard to maintain a peaceful campus. The situation is fluid – like at other universities across the nation – and we will adapt when necessary. We’re also seeing a lot on social media that’s distorted and, in many cases, is outright misinformation. 

I want to share what our university is doing right now:

We’re getting ready for 47 commencement ceremonies and celebrations. When you walk across campus, you’ll see stages, tents, and chairs going up – cardinal and gold banners and flowers everywhere.

USC traditions are holding strong. I walked by Tommy Trojan today and witnessed graduates and their families lining up at our campus icons, taking photos and commemorating this important event. I encourage you to click on Tommy Cam to see that the Trojan Spirit is in full swing.

We’re also deep into Quiet Week with final exams approaching – students are filling our libraries, meeting in study groups, and even taking an occasional break for coffee with friends. They’re focused on academic achievement, and it’s our job to support them in every way possible, including academic accommodations if needed.

We’re maintaining our unshakeable commitment to free speech, with a designated Free Speech Area for peaceful protests and USC’s balanced, robust, and independent student-run media reporting on campus every day. This is part of our commitment to allow all students to access and move around our campuses free from obstruction, harassment, threats, or discrimination. And we will continue to ensure the physical safety and well-being of every Trojan on our campuses.

I’m talking directly with our students, including two lengthy sessions with representatives from Divest from Death USC, the group that established the encampment in Alumni Park. In addition, we’re holding informational sessions with our faculty and staff. And I will continue the important outreach to all members of our community – including our Jewish and Israeli communities, our Palestinian and Muslim communities, as well as others.

I have faith in our ability to unite and seek common ground.

My call to action is to ask for your help: de-escalate tension, keep our campuses peaceful, respect our 47,000 students – and, whenever you can, remember to congratulate the members of the Class of 2024 on their outstanding accomplishments.


Carol L. Folt