A Quieter, More Restrained Deltopia

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Kin Ho
Staff Writer

“It’s lit.”

That was the official anthem of each passerby when asked to describe the bustling scene on Del Playa Drive this past week.

Thousands of students rang in the spring quarter in Isla Vista last Saturday with the sun-powered and alcohol-fueled event which is a cherished UCSB tradition: Deltopia.

With between 6,000 and 8,000 attendees, the event was an immense magnification of the tameness of the 2016 event’s 3,000 people, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

In past years, the event has been known to take a violent turn, prompting local community figures, the SB County Sheriff’s Department, and figures from the University of California, Santa Barbara to step in and control the chaos.

Hoover also stated that the unsanctioned event has resulted in multiple arrests of both locals and visitors, with over 42 arrests, 68 citations, 14 medical transports, and even a sheriff deputy leaving the scene with a broken hand during this year’s Deltopia.

Local concerns for safety are not unwarranted, as there have been multiple fights and arrests breaking out before even the beginning of Deltopia, countless cases of resisting arrest, and a student falling off a 30-to-40-foot cliff on the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive.

Witnessing more arrests than ever, fourth year UCSB student Tai Kang commended Isla Vista’s precedence to put community safety first. However, he said that “it’s a shame the community has to go to these lengths just to keep the community safe.”

Yet on the other side of the spectrum, Jennifer Kim, External Chair of the Isla Vista Community Relations Committee, believed there to be more students from the local community rather than waves of out-of-towners.

“With events like the Warm Up concert and people tenting up to take care of drunk passerby’s, it shows that the community really cares if they’re willing to put this much time and effort into keeping the students safe,” she said, being a third year student at UCSB herself.

With the UCIV program on site handing out water, snacks, condoms, and shelter to partygoers, and the prudent stationing of police officers around the area, both law enforcement and University officials had obviously held diligent preparations for the event. This preparation was only heightened with the setup of roadblocks, restricted parking, and alternative campus activities.

Drawing swarms of students away from parties after-dark was UCSB’s third Warm Up concert on campus. With big artists RL Grime and Destructo headlining the event, “it was a really good idea to keep people away from the party scene and keep them in a more supervised event,” said Johnson Lai, another fourth year student.

“It was probably one of the safer and more fun Deltopias I’ve had since being in this school,” he said. “Pretty thankful for a relatively tame and harmless one this year.” Living on Del Playa Drive himself, he expressed his gratitude to the police department for staying on top of the event, experiencing no break-ins, burglaries, or altercations compared to the Deltopias of years past.