Antisemitic flyers littering Isla Vista streets prompts distress


Allison Budde

The corner of Trigo and El Embarcadero st. in Isla Vista, Calif.

Julia Torres, Staff Writer

The morning of Jan. 31, antisemitic messages were found on the streets of Isla Vista. The flyers were inside plastic bags; a seemingly efficient way to get their message through. 

Police are investigating the event, and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown has made it clear through the official Santa Barbara County press release that our community has zero tolerance for any kind of hate speech or violence of any kind. 

“We will relentlessly pursue and apprehend the perpetrators of crimes committed against members of our Jewish community, or any other group of people within our county that is targeted due to their race, ancestry, religion, age, gender, disability or sexual orientation,” he said. “We stand strong in Santa Barbara County because we stand together.” 

The statement was released by Santa Barbara public information officer Raquel Zick almost immediately after the fliers were found. 

“Any acts or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation, or other crimes motivated by hate or bias are viewed very seriously and given high priority,” Zick said. She is also asking for any information about the source of the hate messages. 

At the intersection of Ocean Rd. and El Colegio Rd. on UCSB campus, a sign reads “United for our Community” in support of Jewish community members in Isla Vista, Calif.
At the intersection of Ocean Rd. and El Colegio Rd. on UCSB campus, a sign reads “United for our Community” in support of Jewish community members in Isla Vista, Calif. (Allison Budde)

It is not often that there are these kinds of messages left around, but on the morning of the incident, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) student Samuel Kresch woke up to a flurry of messages coming in from a group chat with other students. When he left the house to see what the commotion was about, he and other civilians found fliers in paper bags being held by stones. Numerous hateful messages littered the side of the streets. 

Kresch’s fellow UCSB student, Ephraim Shalunov, also shared some of the reactions that the Jewish student population had to the fliers and the aftermath.

“It left a lot of Jewish students feeling and knowing who’s with us and who’s not,” he said. After talking more about what the process was after finding the fliers and a nasty message left on the blackboard of a Jewish studies classroom, Shalunov made it clear that it was not very surprising to hear that despite the majority of the university campus and staff being supportive and apologetic to anyone that was affected, there was a small percentage of the student population that expressed their support for the dreadful message.

“It’s a reminder that antisemitism is alive and well,” he said.

Kindred Murillo, the interim superintendent-president at City College, also decided to share some words of encouragement to her students.

Santa Barbara City College condemns acts of hate, racism and discrimination on our campuses and in our community. At City College, we work to ensure every student believes they belong and feels welcome, supported and safe,” she said. “There is no place for hate or discrimination at City College and we are committed to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for all.” 

Murillo went on to share some resources that any students affected by the messages can use, such as The Well, Student Services, as well as the local community group Jewish Family Services

As the police department of Santa Barbara stated, there is no tolerance for any kind of hate speech towards any kind of community. The same ideals go for the students of City College and UCSB, with the amount of diversity that the popular campuses welcome every year.