When University of Southern California President Carol L. Folt took office July 1, 2019, she knew that rehabilitating the university’s image was of prime importance to the Board of Trustees and alumni. The University was at the center of the “Varsity Blues” scandal, with multiple parents and four Athletic Department employees having been indicted in March. A former campus gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, was indicted and charged with sexual assault in June, accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women during his three decades with the university. Some victims claimed they’d reported the assaults to the university, but that administrators covered up Tyndall’s conduct.

Now some in the USC community believe that another cover-up is happening, one with deadly consequences.

Nine students have died at the University of Southern California this semester, including three over Veteran’s Day weekend. By that time students were on edge and rumors were flying about what caused the deaths, many of which were then attributed to suicide. Sources in the USC community who spoke with RedState on the condition of anonymity say that in mid-November, when it was clear that the majority of the deaths were due to drug overdoses, President Folt emailed a letter to parents and students acknowledging the deaths cautioning students about “the harm and serious risks of all types of drug abuse and substance abuse,” according to the LA Times.

David Carlisle, assistant chief of USC’s Department of Public Safety, told the Daily Trojan:

“There has been a lot of speculation about the causes of recent tragic deaths at USC. Some of those deaths were overdoses, or appear to be overdose, and we won’t know until the coroner tells us. There was speculation that some of the deaths may be attributed to fentanyl, a very powerful opioid, and we wanted to let students know that we’re preparing to help if that’s the case.”

Sarah Fullenweider, a USC student and member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, was friends with one student who died. Fullenweider said that student’s death was caused by an overdose. The LA Times reported that confidential sources told that publication that investigators were “trying to determine whether any student deaths are connected with tainted drugs,” but “stressed that no links to tainted drugs have yet been confirmed” and that “autopsies and toxicology tests are still pending.”

With all of that in mind, it would seem that that administrators would be quite interested in the case of Bill Hsiao, a 26-year-old USC student who was arrested November 21 at his apartment near campus after failing to appear in court for an August 20 charge of possession with intent to sell methamphetamine. Sources with knowledge of the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, say that the apartment building is “affiliated with USC” and is adjacent to fraternity row.

It would seem that administrators (and Student Affairs, which might seek to impose discipline on a student arrested on drug charges) would be quite interested to learn that while searching the apartment in conjunction with serving the warrant, officers seized methamphetamine, prescription opioids, ecstasy, and a short-barreled black market AR-style firearm, according to sources.

USC’s Department of Public Safety posts a “Daily Crime and Fire Log” which, according to the website, “contains the information entered by DPS dispatch and call takers and the resulting action(s) by DPS officers or LAPD officers. Also included in the Daily Crime & Fire Log is a brief summary of the incident.” A review of every single log from the fall semester reveals multiple entries in which warrants were served on students either on or off campus and even reports of noise violations but, curiously, no entry of a warrant being served on a student on November 21 or 22.

The Los Angeles County Sheriffs’ Department listed Hsiao as an inmate as of November 22, showing a bail of $175,000.

No word from USC. In fact, information normally available on arrests is notably absent in Hsiao’s case. Why? And, who is this 26-year-old student? Bill Hsiao’s LinkedIn profile lists him as both a USC student and as a web developer employed by USC Enrollment Services.

USC Enrollment Services is the school’s admissions office, an office embroiled in scandal since one parent criminally charged in the Varsity Blues scheme claimed that USC wasn’t a victim but had a long-standing practice of “explicitly weigh[ing] how much money applicants’ families could donate when determining whether to admit students” and produced emails and spreadsheets from Enrollment Services in their court filing. The office, and the university, don’t need the negative publicity that would follow if an employee had any role in providing drugs that led to student overdose deaths. But is their loyalty to the institution’s reputation or to the students?

It should be stressed that there is currently no publicly acknowledged link between any drugs Hsiao might have sold and student overdose deaths, though multiple independent sources have told RedState that any potential link is being investigated.

Hsiao is still in jail awaiting a December 12 hearing and his bail is now set at $50,000.

Jennifer Van Laar
Jennifer Van Laar is Deputy Managing Editor at RedState and founded Save California PAC. Follow her work on Facebook and Twitter. Story tips: [email protected]

 
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