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In 1970, a wave of civil unrest turned the beachside town of Isla Vista on its head. As the unpopular Vietnam War raged overseas, the student ghetto took on a personality of its own that rivaled the counterculture and antiwar movements a few hundred miles north in Berkeley. The students of I.V. rioted, protested and famously burnt down a local Bank of America, a symbol of the war machine and the capitalist system that stood to benefit from it.
The night after the infamous incident, the California governor declared a state of emergency and Isla Vista was set on a curfew, a tame peacekeeping tool compared to the National Guard and Los Angeles County S.W.A.T. teams that were later called in to maintain order. Isla Vista residents of the 1970s were not afraid of their collective voice in challenging public policy and demanding representation. The history of the generations who roamed Del Playa before us is an important one to remember as we search for our own legacy in inhabiting the unique enclave of Isla Vista.
Forty years after the I.V. riots, critics, historians and sociologists have labeled our own generation apathetic and apolitical: a “rebel without a cause” band of mindless droids who value Adam Lambert more than John Adams and rely on celebrity gossip sites for their daily dose of current events. The purpose of the opinion page is to steer you back into the sphere of political and social issues that matter on both an individual and communal level.
This year, the opinion section has combined old and new columns to hopefully provide you with a better page and a more fertile platform for your own beliefs. Adam Bloom, a former Gaucho and producer in New York City, will offer guidance on how to prepare for the larger world outside UCSB with his weekly alumnus advice column.
David Urzua and Ben Parish will play the liberal and conservative sides respectively in order to provide you with balanced opinions on the most timely and prominent political subjects. Haley Snyder will be our sex columnist, taking the Wednesday hump to new levels of pleasure and provocation. UCPD Sgt. Mark Signa will continue to answer your inquiries about law enforcement in I.V. with his Question Authority column, while CHO program coordinator, Maya Salmon, will explore the ups and downs of the I.V. housing market. Finally, Claire Wei will usher back the Friday fashion column to add a bit of style and grace to the Nexus’ opinion section.
The opinion page undoubtedly has a strong team of columnists working to inform and inspire you as a reader. However, your participation is not only invited in crafting the new opinion section, its imperative. As illustrated by the generations of Gauchos who preceded us, an active voice in the community is central to enacting profound thought and bold change. The opinion page is meant to be an intelligent tapestry of divergent opinions, mixing that of student and professor, conservative and liberal, atheist and devout. It’s meant to be a dialogue, wherein the process of argumentation is as important as the product of truth and everyone’s opinions can be taken into account equally.
Perhaps we’ve never burned down a bank or instigated a state of emergency. But, that’s not to say our generation hasn’t found its voice. This year, I invite you to use yours through the open platform of the Nexus’ opinion page.