Deltopia Is Holding Isla Vista Hostage


Alec Killoran
Staff Writer
Illustration by Amy Chase, Staff Illustrator 

Last year, I walked my friend to her home across Isla Vista on Deltopia. I walked through a rioting crowd, she walked through misogynistic slurs, and we both walked through tear gas.

It was unacceptable to the highest degree, and it looks as though this year’s “Deltopia” is going to be just as big as last year. The police know this, the residents of Isla Vista know this, and yet thousands of people will be back on the streets, just like last year. Facebook event pages are filling up with RSVPs by the thousands already, and each of them promises a good time to the prospective attendees in the vaguest of language.

The fact is that there will be very few parties on Deltopia. Those who try will be shut down by the police, and if this school year’s Halloween was any indication, many Isla Vistans will either hole up for the weekend or even leave town. It is not any fun to party under increasingly Draconian law enforcement and noise ordinances. It is not any fun to deal with parking headaches, unwelcome strangers, or an atmosphere full of tear gas.

It feels as though our community will once again be held hostage on the first weekend of April. It is probably too late to change that for this year. The Facebook event pages are already up—out of town attendees have the date saved. Even if Isla Vistans manage to force the Facebook pages down, our town will still be inundated by a motley assortment of visitors looking for parties that do not exist.

The only solution to the Deltopia conundrum that seems even moderately feasible is to develop the event into a legally-sanctioned block party. This accomplishes two key objectives—it grants law enforcement an adequate ability to regulate the event, and it gives potential out of town visitors something to do. The lack of available activities is the cause of almost all the problems facing Deltopia.

The people on the street rioting and making the event miserable for the community were largely not residents. Just north of 90 percent of last year’s arrests and citations were from people not affiliated with the University of California, Santa Barbara. While that fails to account for resident community college students or other locals, it is statistically significant enough to assume that at least a majority of the rioters were non-locals.

Though the rioters’ behavior was in no way justifiable, it is easy to identify the source of their frustrations—the lack of promised parties. This leads back to the concept of a block party. It is not advisable for residents to hold a number of large, public, and personally-run parties. The danger of vandalism, theft, and property damage is too great.

Block parties are possible to organize in the city of Goleta, but they require extremely advanced planning and logistical efforts. The application for a “Special Event Permit” in Goleta requires that the applicant(s) furnish insurance for potential damages, including deposits for “Sheriff’s Services” and “Cleaning Deposit.” It is easy to see why nobody has done this yet. With such a revolving door of students in Isla Vista and no self-governance, there is no single group of residents who has been capable of pulling this off.

But that does not mean that we ought not to try. A safe, fun, and clean Deltopia is what Isla Vista needs going forward. The legacy of Deltopia and its predecessor “Floatopia,” must be changed. There are enough weekends during the school year for residents to party and drink. It would be nice to have a day of live music and good food that residents and guests alike can enjoy. So for this year—brace yourselves. But we can do so much better as a community, and maybe next year we can kill the rioters with unadulterated Isla Vistan love.


  1. Its spring time. Where is Parks and Recreation Deportment on Floatopia/Deltopia??? The students pay taxes. All the merchants for many miles around make a killing during the event. Looks like taxation without representation. No I’m not a university student but I see all the long lines at the local Goleta and Santa Barbara gas stations as well as every store and food outlet being are crammed full of people. Starting early in morning the day before. From the Market Place shopping center in Goleta to on Stork Rd to well past La Cumbra shopping Center. Lasting till well into the evening the day after. Folks in Ventura County are not complaining about all the extra traffic on the U.S. rut 101 with Deltopia party goers dropping cash at some of the state’s most expanse gas stations and food outlets. The City of Goleta Instead of restricting parking around IV. Which is just a way that city extorts revenue from unsuspecting Deltopia mating ritual event goers.

    Floatopia/Deltopia is a rite of passage for UCSB students. Municipalities should be working to accommodate the human ceremonial instead of fighting human nature, dominate and control its citizens.

  2. remember there is a block party that goes on called Extravaganza. UCSB never wanted to be exclusive but sadly your friends from elsewhere cannot show respect.

  3. I really hate how people ruined this event in the past. I am an out of towner and I did visit IV fairly recently and its such a great place. I dont understand why so many people find the need to go somewhere and let loose so much that they end up damaging property and sometimes the people around them. I want to go to deltopia to hang with my friends in college and party a little bit but I dont plan on rioting like the people last year. The amount of disrespect for the people who live in IV gets really bad in deltopia and I hate seeing it especially in such a nice relaxed town.