News in Brief: Jan. 19 to Jan. 25

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CAMPUS

After over a year of renovation that began in 2015, The Club & Guest House at UC Santa Barbara is officially open for business. In collaboration with UCSB Housing, Dining and Auxiliary Enterprises, the Club & Guest house has doubled in size, featuring spacious dining and meeting areas, 34 guest rooms, and an outdoor terrace. “I am thrilled about the new Club & Guest House,” Willie Brown, one of UCSB’s associate vice chancellors, said in a statement. “UCSB now has a living room where staff and faculty colleagues can continue their natural exchange of ideas while dining from a quality menu that focuses on local, sustainable, and organic offerings.”

ISLA VISTA

Residents of 6653 Del Playa Drive were interrupted over the weekend by a terrifying sight: a portion of their balcony had disappeared into the ocean. As a result of storms in the area, major waves gradually erode cliffsides in Isla Vista. Approximately 28 residents will be temporarily evacuating ocean-facing units in the complex, with help from the American Red Cross. Several have since posted on local housing groups and websites in search for a home over the winter and spring quarters, pending building investigators’ inspections of the structure’s stability.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department reported Sunday that a sexual assault occurred at an unidentified fraternity house in Isla Vista on Saturday night. The female victim claimed that she was drugged by the suspect, possibly with two or more methods, before the assault occurred. It was reported to police at 11:15 p.m. that Saturday. The victim did not remember the address of the fraternity. According to police, the suspect is an unidentified male. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, with the help of the UC Police Department, is investigating the assault.

COUNTY

On Saturday afternoon, over 6,000 people rallied at De La Guerra Plaza, joining the nationwide Women’s March movement. Although dubbed ‘women’s’ march, the spirit of the demonstration encompassed other identities and social issues such as those of immigrants and the LGBTQ community which have been the center of controversy due to President Trump’s derogatory and exclusive rhetoric. The march featured an open mic, with discontented civilians speaking their mind to inspiring remarks from Monique Limón, Planned Parenthood executive Jenna Tosh, and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

Daniel Jiang Chen, a suspect in the 2014 beating and sexual assault of a UC Santa Barbara student, began trial Wednesday morning at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Following his preliminary hearing in early October, Chen faces charges of forcible rape, torture, and great bodily injury. Chen is one of several potential suspects in the sexual assault case that left the victim beaten and heavily bruised, with a broken nose and other injuries. Chen was linked to the case after a DNA sample at the crime scene was matched with a DNA sample performed for an unrelated felony arrest in Alameda County in January of last year.

NATIONAL

In his first days as president Donald Trump has signed several executive orders, including a reinstatement of the “global gag rule” and the reversal of Barack Obama’s order to cease construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline. In an effort to create approximately 28,000 temporary jobs, Trump approved continuing construction on both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will carry oil from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf Coast. Reinstating the “global gag rule” means Trump has ceased all federal funding for foreign aid to Nongovernmental Organizations that provide or even discuss the option of abortion. The $575 million of federal funds to NGO’s providing reproductive health care and assistance to women around the globe was never authorized to be used for abortions, according to the Guardian. Critics worry that the executive order will endanger people at risk of HIV and Zika virus outbreaks.

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