The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Column: Cannot change Isla Vista culture

From the way Isla Vista has been portrayed in the media lately you’d think people were being raped and robbed as they walk down the streets.

The grown-ups are straight trippin’, boo.

In response to Bradley Jones’ death, City College officials are talking even more seriously with UCSB officials about changing the “situation” in IV.

In fact, UCSB’s Center for Risk Studies and Safety says that the entire culture in Isla Vista needs to be changed. In a recent meeting, members discussed the “increased use and abuse and availability of alcohol.”

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Sergeant Mark Vallekamp of the IV Foot Patrol disagrees. “We’ve been making significant progress. Over the past few months keg sales in IV have gone down 50 percent,” he said. Vallekamp, who has been working in IV on and off for 13 years, said he has even noticed a decline in the number of violent assaults in IV this year.

In November the Santa Barbara News-Press reported that a grand jury report claimed that the Foot Patrol couldn’t control Isla Vista. If this is the case then why are people still getting tickets and turning their music off at midnight? For fun?

With regards to UCSB’s plan, they think that the solution to all of our problems here in IV is to simply change the culture. When asked to expand, a member of the CRSS explained that this means taking university money and using it to remodel the IV Theatre. This will attract “responsible adults” (will irresponsible adults will be turned away at the door?) to the area. The mere presence of the “responsible adults” will then effectively demolish underage drinking and violence in IV. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?

The County Board of Supervisors also had a bright idea. It has approved plans to make residents purchase permits to park on the streets, as well as to install parking meters in downtown IV. Like starving students paying Santa Barbara-style rents can afford this? Santa Barbara benefits in many ways from our presence. We provide cheap student labor, increased rent, as well as the annual stocking-up with mom and dad at local stores, and major tourism.

There’s something missing in all of this. Did anyone bother to ask the people who live in IV what they think should be done?

College officials think something needs to be done about IV because they think students can’t study there because of the partying. Is this really a problem? A good student can stay in and peacefully study on a Saturday night without problems. It’s not the environment, it’s the work ethic of the student. And many students can maintain high GPAs and still party every weekend.

It’s not like IV has all of a sudden become a murderous, drunken, satanic sex pot. IV has always been a community of college students who are famous for partying. Remember the riots of the 70’s?

And for many residents the reputation and history of our small town are why they chose to live here.

Where else but IV can you buy drinks from a bar you’re doing your laundry in? And to skateboard down DP on a sunny weekend afternoon (intoxicated or not) is to fall in love with this friendly town. You can stop and talk to anyone on the street and you always see a friend. It even seems to be more diverse than the rest of Santa Barbara.

Yes, there is a lot of drinking in IV and a fair amount of violence. But considering the amount of young people in such a small place, it is inevitable. Yes, students should take some responsibility and stop beating the crap out of each other every time they get stupid-drunk. And yes, people should tell their guests to do the same. But the outside community also has to stop targeting IV or it will lose all it is loved and famous for.

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