The Gould School of Law held a panel discussion on civil rights on Monday featuring actress and alumna Daniele Watts, who was involved in a controversy after she was arrested for lewd conduct in a September encounter with police. Watts, who graduated in 2007 with a degree in theatre, is known for her cinematic roles in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and the Weeds television series.Gray area · Watts, pictured, said that she and her boyfriend have often been unfairly targeted by police because she is black and he is white. – Jessica Zhou | Daily TrojanOn Sept. 11, Watts and her boyfriend Brian Lucas were mired in controversy after Watts was arrested. Watts and Lucas were in a parked vehicle near CBS Studios in Studio City, California, when the Los Angeles Police Department received a call reporting lewd acts, specifically that a black woman in floral shorts and a white man were “having sex in the vehicle with the door open.” The police officer who responded to the call asked the couple to provide him with identification to which Watts responded, based on a tape released by TMZ, “Do you know how many times the cops have been called … just because I’m black and he’s white?”In the aftermath of the arrest, Watts alleged that she was only “making out” with her partner and claimed that the police had targeted her because of her race.During the discussion, Shana Redmond, associate professor of American studies and ethnicity, described how black women’s sexuality has been criminalized. Redmond revealed that the NAACP told Watts to apologize to the LAPD.Assistant professor of history Diana Williams asked the panel about what kinds of sex society deems offensive. She said that socially accepted couples face less scrutiny when engaging in public display of affection.Watts’ talk revolved around empathy. As a theatre major, she described how during her undergraduate studies, one of her main objectives was to “put herself in someone else’s shoes” and try to feel what it’s like to be somebody else.Watts said that on a previous encounter with the police in the city of Loma Linda, she and her partner were approached by officers because of a report of a “suspicious black and white couple.” After the incident, she and her partner had agreed to deal with such interactions in a graceful and respectful manner.Watts also said, however, that the Sept. 11 incident was the fourth time she was forced to deal with the police since she shaved her head. She admitted that during the past interactions with the police, she had attempted to be as calm and polite as possible.Watts also stated during the discussion that the police sergeant on the scene told her boyfriend that “[Watts] needs to learn she doesn’t get to dictate what happens.”Jacob Bradley, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said that he was trying to be as objective as possible and that attending the discussion provided him with a more fair view of the events.“When I listened to the audio recordings, she sounded blameworthy, but I didn’t know that the police had edited the recordings before it was given to TMZ. Now I feel I have more of a balanced view on the incident,” Bradley said.The panel discussion received a significant amount of media attention and reporters from local networks, including CBS and KCAL9, were present for the event.Watts thanked the panel and the guests for coming, as she said discussions like these help raise awareness of racial issues in America.
USC coach Ali Khosroshahin says he considers San Diego coach Ada Greenwood to be one of his closest friends — but that doesn’t mean the Women of Troy will be taking it easy on the Toreros in their road match Friday. Especially since the USC women’s soccer team (2-3-1) has lost all four of its matches against the Toreros (3-5) dating back to 2010.“If you’ve ever competed against your friends, you know that it eats at you when you don’t do well against them,” Khosroshahin said. “There’s definitely a little revenge factor for us here this weekend.”San Diego acheived its latest victory against USC on Sept. 2 at McAlister Field, where it pulled off a 2-1 comeback win. But since, the Toreros have lost 4-1 to No. 2 Duke and 5-0 to No. 10 North Carolina.Meanwhile, the Women of Troy are confident they’ve improved in the past couple of weeks, and on Friday, USC will be looking for payback on the Toreros’ home turf.“We got out of our own heads last time we played San Diego,” freshman midfielder Megan Borman said. “Basically, we looked like we’d never played with each other on the field. These last couple weeks we’ve worked on camaraderie and coming together as a team.”Last Sunday against Cal State Northridge, the Women of Troy dominated possession and scored a goal late to clinch a tie, ending a streak of three straight comeback losses. Some are pointing to the morale-booster as a turning point for the young Women of Troy, who have welcomed twenty new players to the roster this season.“We all came out on that field and played hard for each other,” junior midfielder Autumn Altamirano said. “The intensity was amazing. Our tackles and aggressiveness were awesome. The bench really contributed because they were screaming, chanting, throwing off the people on the other team.”San Diego forward Emily Dillon is the Toreros’ leading scorer with two goals and three assists, and goalkeeper McKenna Tollack has allowed 16 goals while racking up 30 saves in eight games.The Women of Troy return home Sunday for a match against Portland, in the squad’s last tune-up before Pac-12 play starts next week.“We want to be prepared for conference [play], having as many new players as we do,” Khosroshahin said. “We’re still developing a better understanding of each other. You can’t bring in as many players as we did this off-season without going through some growing pains.”USC is 2-2 all-time against the Pilots (4-1-1), but has lost the last two clashes, including a 2-1 decision up north last year. The last time the Women of Troy defeated Portland was in 2007, USC’s national championship season.Until last year, when San Diego and Pepperdine shared the West Coast Conference crown, Portland had won four conference championships in a row.The Pilots’ soccer program also boasts some impressive alumni, including current United States women’s national soccer team member Megan Rapinoe, former standout Tiffeny Milbrett, and current Canadian International star Christine Sinclair.“They’re traditionally a very strong program, and they’ve gotten off to a very good start this year,” Khosroshahin said. “But we like the way we match up against them. I think the kids are fired up.”Forward Amanda Frisbie leads the Pilots with four goals, while midfielder Ellen Parker has contributed four assists. The Pilots have switched between Erin Dees and Nichole Downing in goal to head a stout defense that’s allowed just two goals in six games.The Women of Troy kick off in San Diego on Friday at 5 p.m. before returning home for a 1 p.m. start time against Portland at McAlister Field on Sunday.