Living in the beachside community of Isla Vista is certainly one of the biggest perks of attending UC Santa Barbara. Despite the iconic party scene and the picturesque setting, there are risks that are inevitable in a college town. Daily Nexus sat down with three students from the Associated Students Public Safety Commission to give you the tips you need to have a safe time out on the streets of I.V.
A.S. Public Safety Commission Chair Dwayne Mosbey
A.S. Senator and Liaison to the Public Safety Commission Ashcon Minoiefar
Former A.S. Public Safety Commission Chair Molly Morrison
DN: What should students be cautious of when going into I.V.?
Minoiefar: When on the streets or in a party, a simple look around at what is happening can keep you safe, your friends safe and out of trouble with law enforcement. Isla Vista is a friendly and fun place, so it should be enjoyed. But being conscious of what you or your friends are doing will keep you safe, out of jail or getting the infamous MIP (Minor in Possession) … Although it’s an amazing place, Isla Vista unfortunately falls victim to crimes like theft, assault and sexual assault.
Mosbey: Even though we are in a relatively safe community, be aware of areas with poor lighting and do not engage those who are behaving in an antagonistic manner towards you. When going out be sure to keep track of your drink and never allow anyone to make or give one to you.
DN: What should students do to prepare for potentially dangerous situations?
Minoiefar: The easiest way to get yourself into trouble is by not knowing what you or your friends plan on doing. If you’re going to drink and walk DP, which every freshman will understandably do, have a game plan if things don’t work out. Eat some food before, have an idea of where you want to go, have a backup plan if that doesn’t work out (Freebirds nachos are a solid move), and make sure you know where your friends are when you want to head back home. Pouring too many shots back and aimlessly wandering Isla Vista after not getting into any parties is a surefire way to get yourself into some trouble.
Mosbey: When you go out, be sure to have friends accompany you and keep track of each other throughout the night! Familiarize yourself with the local area and as well be aware of the safest routes to take. Be sure to take care of your personal belongings and keep track of them.
DN: What are some resources that students can access when they need help?
Minoiefar: The number-one resource students should be aware of is the CSO Escort program. The number is (805) 893-8000 … Call 911 if you or anyone around you is in any danger, perceived or real. The Isla Vista Foot Patrol can respond to a call very, very quickly and should always be reached out to … Good Samaritan Laws in California provide both the caller and the one in medical need amnesty from prosecution for minor crimes like minor in consumption or drug use. Their priority is getting the person in need of medical attention to the hospital, not citing you a MIP. So don’t hesitate to call.
Morrison: UCSB Counseling and Psychological Services is the most valuable resource this campus has for students seeking mental help of any kind, ranging from the most benign forms of stress to other more serious disorders. There should be no stigma associated with wanting to seek help — Counseling and Psychological Services just fought a huge battle against UC budgets to stay a strong force on this campus, and students should really be utilizing this wonderful service more.
DN: Who can students reach out to if they need help?
Minoiefar: Make sure to go to your friends as a support group, no one will be there for you like the friends you meet here at UCSB. Professors can be great help when your course load is getting crazy. Stop by their office hours and you will be amazed how helpful they can be. The SRB [Student Resource Building] has a mind-boggling amount of services. The Womyn’s Center is an amazing resource for many things, including any services pertaining to sexual assault. If you are injured out in Isla Vista or wherever and are having trouble getting to class, check out the Disabled Students Program in the SRB for help.
Morrison: When students start to feel that they need help, the most important thing to do is NOT TO STAY QUIET! There are so many people who want to help, and all you have to do is ask. Don’t know where to go? Start with your RA. Don’t have an RA? Walk right into Student Health or Counseling and Psychological Services. No one is judgmental; everyone wants you to do well and BE well.
DN: What do you recommend students bring with them when they go into I.V.?
Mosbey: Always be sure to have some form of ID when you go out, preferably a state-issued or government ID, as well as a fully charged phone, emergency contact information and your keys (for those who are prone to losing them, buy a carbineer or lanyard.)
Morrison: Buddy system. Too often have students wandered off by themselves, and most end up fine, but some have gotten into situations they did not intend, which can have really serious repercussions … When you go out, always carry a form of ID on you … Also bring an open, but grounded mind and heart. Being under any influence may make you more prone to decisions you wouldn’t make otherwise, so make sure to always have your best interests take priority over everything else.
DN: What are common mistakes made by students, especially freshman or transfers, when they go into I.V.?
Minoiefar: The most common mistake made in Isla Vista is not spacing out your shots or handle pulls. It’s really easy to fill time between conversations with shots. But what we don’t realize until we make this mistake a few times, is that five shots in one hour is a lot. You won’t feel any shots you take for 30 minutes after you take it at the very least, and it’s usually more like an hour. So if you’re not spacing your shots out, you’re gonna have a bad time when it all hits you. Best way to avoid this is to know that saying no to a shot really isn’t that big of a deal … [people] will forget about it in less than a second.
Morrison: Young adults at this age haven’t fully developed critical decision-making parts of their brain yet, so it’s difficult to figure out if you’re really making the right decision if you are thrust into a neighborhood where there are little to zero authority or parental figures.
A version of this story appeared on page 6 & 7 of the Thursday, September 24, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.