by Jori Barash
On Monday night, university officials disclosed online that several students at USC had been taken in for questioning by LAPD for the solicitation of prostitution.
The embarrassing incident indirectly resulted from a student organization called the Trojan Scholar Society. TSS held a lottery for tickets to the popular musical The Book of Mormon, and the tickets were highly demanded by the student body.
On Sunday, a female freshman, whom LAPD declined to identify on the grounds that the investigation is still ongoing, posted in a Facebook group:
“Hi hi, I am also here to beg for a ticket to lose my Book of Mormon virginity! I am down to go ANY day, I will give you my left kidney should you ever need it, and I am willing to trade favors (preferably NOT sexual, but we can negotiate).”
Another freshman, a friend of the original poster, told the Sack of Troy, “Most of us knew she was kidding, but I guess some people took her seriously.”
She continued, “All it takes are a few misunderstandings and the SC entrepreneurial spirit for young adults to revolutionize a market. [My friend] received an offer she couldn’t refuse.”
The anonymous student then explained that when word got out that Book of Mormon tickets were available to those who “wanted it bad enough,” more and more freshmen began trading tickets for sexual favors.
The administration’s discreetly worded press release stated that over the course of the past two days, several male and female students from Birnkrant Residential College were questioned by LAPD on suspicion of soliciting prostitution after discovery of a questionable page on social media.
DPS began the investigation after a report of students renting out their USC IDs. Student and non-students both use rented IDs to gain access to exclusive events. Upon further research, DPS found “Harlottery,” a hidden Facebook group where students exchanged ticket lottery prizes for sexual favors. At this point, LAPD took over.
The Sack of Troy asked several students about the incident, including many from greek life. For the most part, they were not uncomfortable with providing access to social events with the expectation of sexual favors in return. According to one sophomore, “I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“The social communities within USC are small enough that sexual favors, or even payment, aren’t all that different from just hooking up.”