The Daily Gamecock

Packed Woodlands pool party video makes 'Tosh.0'

Rowdy, booze-soaked Friday event includes "Girls Gone Wild"-esque nudity

Pictures and videos of hundreds of USC students at a rowdy, booze-soaked, "Girls Gone Wild"-esque pool party at the complex Friday popped up on YouTube over the weekend. By Sunday, one of the videos had gone viral and was picked up by Comedy Central comedian Daniel Tosh's Tosh.0 blog.

That video first depicts a pair of women — each seated atop the shoulders of a man — wrestling, or "chicken fighting," in a crowded pool of mostly men cheering them on. Tame enough, until the cheering becomes more of a chant — and that chant becomes a clearly audible demand that the women remove their bikini tops.

After a few moments of high-decibel encouragement, one reluctantly obliges the male mob. Almost instantaneously, the "U-S-C" cheer — usually reserved for the midst of a "Sandstorm"-ing student section — erupts.
Later on, the unidentified woman, having again donned her swimsuit top, leads the crowd in a "Game-Cocks" cheer.

A Woodlands employee who answered the phone Monday wasn't authorized to speak on the apartment complex's behalf, but she confirmed the party was sponsored by the complex and patrolled by its employees. She said employees called the police, who broke up the party later on in the afternoon when the revellers started getting out of hand. The employee referred further questions to the corporate headquarters; a corporate representative couldn't be reached late Monday after several calls and emails.

The Richland County Sheriff's department confirmed that officers were dispatched to 1050 Southern Drive, the Woodlands' address, around 5:30 p.m. Friday. A report was not available at press time Monday evening and it's unclear whether any arrests were made.

Chris Buck, a third-year history student who said he lives at The Retreat but came to the party Friday, said the complex had provided food for its residents and a disc jockey as part of a welcome back party. He said that's common practice for the surrounding off-campus apartment complexes.

Buck attributed the timing and weather to the size and intensity of the party.
"It was a beautiful day ... It was the second day of classes," he said. "Everyone went out to the pool and then people just called their friends."

Buck estimated that between 700 and 800 students were present at the party's peak. And he claimed for much of the afternoon, the crowd wasn't as out-of-control as portrayed in the videos.

"The video kind of seems worse. You only see the worst part," he said. "Of course, you get a bunch of alcohol in there, you mix alcohol and college students and guys — they're going to start chanting for girls to take their tops off. ... That part was a little bit much."

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jerry Brewer said such an event would never be allowed to occur on university property.

"But people have the right to do what they choose on private property," he said.

He did, however, voice his concerns on the basis of safety and care for the USC community.

"It does concern me," he said. "It concerns me a lot. But the bottom line is, we could spend all our time saying this is what the administration thinks, this is what Student Life thinks — but the community's got to decide that. The question is, what is the community standard?"

Nick Miletich, a second-year criminal justice student, said he doesn't think the event was any more out-of-hand than others at universities around the nation.

"I feel like it happens at every college, but this is just caught on video," he said. "I think every college has something along these lines. It's all in good fun."

Comments on the Tosh.0 blog post lightheartedly referenced USC's recent No. 17 Princeton Review ranking in the "top party schools" category.

But other students, voicing opinions on social media, were less amused by the video.

Common responses to a Daily Gamecock survey on Facebook and Twitter about the video included "trashy and embarrassing" and "disgraceful."

Hannah Mason, a third-year chemistry student, tweeted "I was embarrassed to watch this."

In an interview later Monday evening, Mason said she's heard that the Woodlands has a reputation for partying, but that she thought the events in the video were unprecedented.

"I know that pool parties at the Woodlands get a little crazy," Mason said. "I'm all for a little crazy, but that was just taking it over the top. I think it's extremely disgraceful to this whole campus."

Buck disagrees. He said he doesn't think one party will affect USC's reputation.

"I don't see it as so much of a bad image," he said. "It was a Friday after class. It was a welcome back party. ... I don't think we're being portrayed as this wild school that doesn't care about school, because we definitely care about school.

"It was a once-in-a-year kind of thing. This is my third year and I've never seen a party like that. It had all the right conditions, the perfect storm for a wild party. But it's definitely not something you're going to find here on any given weekend."

Assistant News Editor Amanda Coyne contributed reporting to this story.