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Administrators Address Deltopia Aftermath

Vice Chancellor Michael Young addresses concerns such as surveillance cameras, community safety and Deltopia out-of-towners at the Coffee Collaborative yesterday.

Vice Chancellor Michael Young addresses concerns such as surveillance cameras, community safety and Deltopia out-of-towners at the Coffee Collaborative yesterday.

UCSB Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young held an open forum with students, administrators and community leaders yesterday at the Coffee Collaborative to discuss the destruction caused by Deltopia and the future of such events in Isla Vista.

The discussion touched on the role played by recently erected video surveillance posts and “out-of-towners” in Saturday’s “civil unrest,” comparisons between Deltopia and Floatopia and taking steps to regulate future large-scale events. Representatives from Associated Students, the Division of Student Affairs and the Isla Vista Food Co-op were in attendance, although no personnel from any of the law enforcement agencies that responded Saturday night were present.

The meeting, which started as a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA), drew a small crowd of students and residents that spilled over onto the sidewalk in the late hours of the afternoon.

When asked how the six surveillance towers contributed to the incidents Saturday night, Young said the idea that the controversy surrounding the camera installations caused the violence was far-fetched.

“I don’t buy this ‘the camera’s caused us to behave that way.’ Please don’t say that …that’s just silly,” Young said. “I don’t think they caused anything … I want a camera when something has happened. When one of my students is assaulted, I want to know who did it.”

Katya Armistead, associate dean of students, said the cameras are not being pointed into bedrooms or private residences, and residents need to have a better understanding of what this surveillance is targeting.

“We should do an educational campaign about what these cameras are really used for, where they are really pointed, how they’ll use footage,” Armistead said. “I know that Alex Moore and Associated Students … has been really concerned about that so I’m definitely going to work closely with him to have him better understand it.”

Another student asked Young how the events on Saturday compare to the Floatopia beach party that began several years ago on Isla Vista beaches and evolved into Deltopia after law enforcement began closing off beach access for the weekend in 2010. Young said the event was detrimental to local beaches and dangerous for those in attendance.

“Floatopia was one of the worst, gratuitous destruction of the environment and disregard for the safety of others … If you looked at the destruction that was left there, it was mind-bending to me,” Young said. “I don’t care if students who are of age have a drink, I don’t care if people engage in intimate relationships as long as everyone is consenting — [that's] none of my business — but what I do care about is destruction and abuse of people and the environment in the name of fun.”

Young said he does not know how many “outsiders” contributed to the violence that occurred over the weekend, but the fact that there are so many visitors is a major problem for the community.

“It makes me crazy that outsiders come into our midst … come into our homes, destroy our property, assault our citizens, steal from them … overburden our emergency services,” Young said. “My wife has had two ambulance trips in the last four months, I’d be pissed if she couldn’t get an ambulance because they are tied up in here looking for a bunch of people who are here just to cause trouble, get drunk … and think it’s cool to destroy my community … that’s how I feel.”

Young said he benefited from the meeting but emphasized he cannot be sure how the county will respond to the events of Deltopia.

“The truth is I don’t think we know what the possibilities are, what the likelihood is, certainly from what the county does. The county’s going to have its own approach to this,” Young said. “I can tell you is that this meeting is great for me from my standpoint — I got some ideas about some things we might do to mitigate, make for a healthy kind of environment.”

Robert Wickham, a third-year mathematics and CCS literature major, said he thought Deltopia could be more regulated in the future and take on the characteristics of a structured music festival.

“My idea for Halloween would be turn them into festivals sort of like Coachella. I believe we should turn the three big parts on Del Playa into stages,” Wickham said. “We would block off Del Playa in a way where police can easily regulate access where there will only be two streets where you can enter basically Camino Pascadero street and Camino Corto.”

According to Emily Potter, a second-year literature and sociology major, the meeting was helpful because it educated her on what the university can actually do to address the events of the weekend.

“One thing we talked about was starting a conversation with the county because what I learned in this meeting was how little power the actual university administration actually has over helping us set up these events,” Potter said. “It’s up to us to [be] communicating with the county. They are the ones that can give us permission to block off Del Playa.”

-Staff Report. Daniel Slovinsky and Jimmy Chang contributed to this report.


A version of this story occurred in the Monday, April 7, 2014 edition of the Daily Nexus.


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6 Responses to Administrators Address Deltopia Aftermath

  1. Dan W Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    While I applaud this administrator meeting with folks informally, I have to say he’s naive.

    Blaming “outsiders” exclusively for what happened on the weekend ignores two things: 1) IV’s long history of violent confrontations with police when residents decide they’ve had enough and 2) the hatred of government and of law enforcement which has reached all time highs nationally and locally.

    While cameras do have their uses, there are serious concerns with their misuse. History has repeatedly shown that, when given power, government will eventually abuse it. In the case of IV the reported number of cameras (75) seems on the face of it excessive to an extreme.

    I understand Supervisor (better Idiot) Farr feels more ordinances are in order. That’s simply pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire, one that’s been smoldering for 10+ years. We saw one explosion, this weekend. Is there going to be another one? Unless there is a fundamental change in attitudes on the part of the County and UCSB, not to say of residents, history will repeat itself-soon.

  2. woopdie doo Reply

    April 8, 2014 at 3:14 am

    I get why I sound naive. I sound naive because I don’t care. I don’t care because those questions aren’t important to me. Those questions aren’t important to be because I DO want the cameras and my want is so strong that I am willing to suspend concern about all those nearly inconsequential reasons to not support them in the first place. Ask yourself what is more important, safeguarding human life and the safety of our community by implementing the cameras OR the cameras having the occasional (supposed, possible) misuse by people designated to protect us? Who cares what happens to the footage. We have no right to privacy in public. Who cares who stares at me from a camera? You and I can’t walk around invisible anyway and people look at us all day anyway? Is the cop watching a camera any different than a student staring at DP from a balcony? As far as I am concerned they should stream the cameras live on the internet 24/7 so we can ALL have access to it. There are already cameras everywhere in public places that you can log into and watch people. My view is not naive. I have made an educated decision to not be concerned about what people do with video of myself walking down the street. Maybe I am just that confident of myself. It won’t violate me to have people watching me walk down the street on these things. I am not the victim of anything if Chancellor Yang wanted to watch me buy a soda or park my car. It’s not like people are going to be watching me having sex. Cameras can’t arrest people or hit people. It doesn’t violate me whatsoever including infringing on any fictional right to privacy in a public place. I think its naive of people not to consider the cameras as being the great good for our community. I think most of the concerns about these cameras have either no real merit, are often ridiculous, or are so inconsequential that they don’t outweigh the benefits to increasing community safety. Film me all you want. I hope I am putting on a good show.

    • GauchoAlum Reply

      April 8, 2014 at 11:30 am

      The beast always adapts to its environment, and the human beast is adaptive indeed!

      IMO, it’s foolish to think that by changing X will lead to result Y. Changing X will change all sorts of other things as well. We all react to changes in rules whether consciously or unconsciously. We adapt to rules and unintended consequences follow.

      Think of the chilling effects on free speech and assembly with government surveillance. Think of a cause that might be dear to you like drug laws, gay marriage, NSA spying, police brutality, corruption, pro or anti abortion, stop to wars, etc. Some causes you favor and some you oppose, and some of your causes will certainly run counter to the government’s position. In our society, we need to know we can protest without reprisal from our government. And governments change. Perhaps you like and agree with our current government and favor its actions. But maybe our next government’s actions you don’t like. Shouldn’t the citizens be able to exercise their rights to protest without being tagged with a label, like “agitator” or “domestic terrorist” without the fear that the government knows they were present at a protest? And if you find yourself unpopular with the government, by the government knowing everything you do and did in public, including what meeting you attended or who you associate with, they hold a lot of information that can and will be used against you. Maybe the government won’t tag people and seek reprisal, but simply knowing the possibility exists will have a chilling effect that will dissuade people from exercising their rights. Hence, the hidden chilling effect.

      Also, I concede that there is no expectation to privacy in public, legally speaking. However, do you EXPECT your government to track you in public with almost no effort or resources required to do so? Would you feel comfortable if a cop followed you everywhere you went in public with a camera while knowing exactly who you are? With facial recognition and license plate scanners, this is effectively what these cameras can accomplish with software that is readily and cheaply available. It’s just that it’s not in your face as it’s all automated and accomplished through remote means. The next time you get your picture taken at the DMV, I bet they ask you to stay perfectly still, not smile, and keep your face as symmetrical as possible. I wonder why…

      In the end, I encourage people to think not just about themselves and their own behaviors, but about the actions of their fellow citizens and how it relates to a healthy relationship between The People and the Government which is supposed to derive its power from the governed. The power originates from us and the government requires our consent.

      There are so many reasons to have concerns about government surveillance, and I hope people think critically rather than simply accept the safety argument whose premise is questionable in the first place. After all, does nobody find it curious that there was a riot shortly AFTER surveillance cameras were all over the place? I have seen quite a few pictures of rioters doing their thang with the towers looming right in the background.

  3. GauchoAlum Reply

    April 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I apologize for the cross-post as I posted this under the surveillance article comments section, but now that this article is up, the comments are more appropriate in response to this story…

    Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Dr. Michael Young, engaged the community this afternoon via Reddit. I applaud him for doing so, and it represents a good start. I share with you his comments regarding the surveillance cameras. The entire discussion may be found within the threads here:


    Q: Do you think the camera’s did anything to actually prevent any crimes from being committed last night? Bad stuff clearly happened with or without the cameras, and therefore doesn’t it seem irresponsible to invade people’s privacy for an ineffective policy?

    Michael Young: I don’t buy the “the cameras caused us to behave that way.” Please don’t say that to me. It’s just silly.

    I don’t think they caused anything, I do think that they are here to stay for the rest of our lives, not just in IV, but in business you visit every day. They’re not monitored on a regular basis. For me, I want a camera when something has happened. When one of my students is assaulted, I want to find out who did it.

    I think it’s a dicy issue and with all democracies, somewhere there is a balance between control and freedom.

    My Take: Number one, he rejects the notion that the cameras could have contributed to a negative environment and isn’t even interested in entertaining the notion. Second, he states that they are likely here to stay. Third, he draws no distinction between business protecting their private property versus government monitoring the public. Fourth, he states the cameras are not monitored on a regular basis suggesting they are monitored at least on occasion. Fifth, he states there is a balance between control and freedom in democracies but does not state what he means by “control” or how freedom can be balanced within democracy.

    Q (I believe this was a question and not Dr. Young): There really needs to be more education on the cameras. They seem to pop up without any involvement of the community or chance for them to digest it.

    Michael Young: There wasn’t a lot of deliberation, consultation around the cameras. The speed and selection of places for the cameras grew out of the sexual assault. There was a real concern particularly on certain University property and in other areas that it was critical that we have visual evidence of what has happened so we can provide a somewhat safer environment. They aren’t being monitored 24/7, but they will allow people to revisit footage after these acts have been committed. I don’t want to pretend that it was anything
    other than a quick response to the sexual assaults in order to make the community safer. My understanding is that all of that will be reviewed, but I would be shocked if there wasn’t a lot of support to keep continuing on with those.

    My take: First, he concedes there was little deliberation regarding the cameras which indicates there was no balancing regarding “control and freedom”. Where was the balancing?! It seems to me that the notion of “we must do something” quickly evolved into “anything” and arbitrary action. When he states “it was critical that we have visual evidence of what has happened so we can provide a somewhat safer environment”, it contradicts what he said above which was “I want a camera when something has happened. When one of my students is assaulted, I want to find out who did it.” Notice how he now mixes the present tense (deter crime) with past tense (solve crime). Studies demonstrate that cameras do not deter crime, and as a research university, it would be trivial to read through the studies to determine their effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness). He states “They aren’t being monitored 24/7″, yet he again contradicts himself to a certain degree when he stated above “the cameras are not monitored on a regular basis”. So, just how often will they be monitored and by whom? He states “My understanding is that all of that will be reviewed, but I would be shocked if there wasn’t a lot of support to keep continuing on with those.” Who shall review it and what metrics will be used? Will competing voices be invited during the decion making process? It sounds to me as though the decision has already been made in his mind which will lead to a self-fullfilling prophecy.

    My conclusions:

    1) The cameras were thrown up with little internal deliberations and no solicitation. He appears to be ad libbing the entire discussion and doesn’t graps the supposed pros with the obvious cons.

    2) He states there is a balance between “control and freedom” and yet there was apparently no effort to do so.

    3) It appears the decision has already been rendered that the cameras are here to stay and is a foregone conclusion in today’s “reality”. Suck on that.

    4) It’s unclear whether the cameras are intended to keep people safe or to solve crimes.

    5) While I appreciate his candor, his lack of understanding of the issues and his blind support of the cameras is alarming.

    • woopdie doo Reply

      April 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      To me, your questions have no value. What’s important is not how or even why but what. What will they use these cameras for? The answer is to solve crimes and general safety. If your okay with that then the other things don’t matter.

      There is no value in asking who monitors them. It makes no difference whether it is the school, police, government. They’re in place for safety so what does it matter? For me it didn’t matter how long they took to deliberate… it only takes a second, using common sense, to know that these cameras are for the greater good and will help the community. The criticalness of the balance of control and freedom is also silly but I can elaborate for you… basically he’s saying the cameras ARE the balance. Looks like you missed that point. He’s not implying this but I’m saying it… without the cameras the likely next step is too create more laws and more police and more restrictions in our liberties. Cameras are effective at solving crimes – everyone knows that. Solving crimes is one way our community results justice and heals survivors. Doesn’t that have more value than all of the points you are attempting to make? So let the cameras stay…unless your intending to commit crimes you should be all for them.

      • re:woopdie doo Reply

        April 7, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        You might find his questions silly, but I certainly find your world view naïve. The idea, that cameras, once they are up, will only ever be used for one purpose is patently ridiculous.

        You’re presupposing not only that use of the footage, now that the cameras are up, will always remain restricted for one specific purpose, but also that access to the footage will never be abused by anyone who has access to it, and that the footage will not end up in hands that were never supposed to have it.

        The mere existence of the cameras is more of a threat to our civil liberties than a free, democratic society should tolerate.

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