“What is UCSB doing to help?” “Can’t the school fix this?”
Every time an incident occurs in Isla Vista, students, parents, and international spectators jump to the conclusion that the University of California, Santa Barbara is at fault and must be the one to fix the issue. Incidents within IV such as Deltopia reflect horribly upon the school’s international reputation. Unfortunately, it is difficult to recognize that the majority of the events that take place within IV are out of the school’s control. Despite UCSB administration’s continual efforts to ensure the safety of their students, there is only so much that the university can do without actually being located in IV to police the actions of residents outside of their jurisdiction.
Consequentially, debate has erupted over whether or not UCSB should be purchasing certain housing complexes in IV and converting them into campus housing. The idea of the University buying up land within IV began in the 1970s when UCSB incorporated the burned structure of Bank of America into a campus lecture hall. The school is now making leaps and bounds towards progress in this manner, ensuring that they are able to take a more hands-on role in protecting the safety of their students.
Though many students adore IV and call it home, others are quite disenchanted with the glaring issues of inflated rent, cramped living conditions akin to a student ghetto, and blatant safety issues. A valid concern many students and parents could potentially have about expanding campus housing in IV is the idea of campus housing being located in such an environment–arguing that the school will monitor the housing, not the surrounding environment. Therefore, having recognized that there is a legitimate need for UCSB’s intervention in IV, the school must follow this effort with even more regulation of the surrounding environment.
UCSB and the IV community need to lead an effort to institute better regulation of the bike traffic that creates countless perilous situations on Pardall Road, where bikers whip in front of cars with an apparent lack of concern for their own safety or that of the drivers. This could include specific bike lanes, a biker stop sign, and continued enforcement when these safety features are ignored.
Furthermore, perhaps the school could become leading legislators behind the efforts to fence the cliffs of DP that prove such a hazardous risk to students in an intoxicated state. This could be accomplished by petitioning the different community fencing commissions to finally institute a unified regulation on the fences. Many students are already impassioned by this issue but cannot change much without the force of the university behind them.
Finally, and most importantly, why is it an accepted fact that young women should not walk alone on the streets of IV at the first sign of darkness? This is a very troubling phenomenon that should be addressed head-on by the school administration and the IV community rather than being left solely as the responsibility of individual females. UCSB could place community resource centers with safety regulation throughout IV. There are emergency call boxes all across campus; the university should also institute call boxes within IV so that police can respond to incidents at the same rapid pace as an incident on campus.
It would be a beautiful thing if Isla Vista could someday be considered as safe an environment as that of UCSB’s own campus. This will, of course, take years. However, with the new proposed housing developments, perhaps it is on its way.