I think that Ms. Van Dyke and Ms. Ozmar have the best intentions when they back the new ordinance that would notify parents of their child’s arrest in Isla Vista (“Parental Notification Keeps I.V. Safe,” Daily Nexus, May 20). They noted the statistics from door-to-door surveys of both UCSB and SBCC students. First, if you’ve learned anything here at this school you know that statistics don’t mean anything. They could have done 100 or 1,000 surveys. So what does 45 percent mean? Forty-five percent of 1,000 people? Forty-five percent of 12 people?
Second, 19-20,000 people live in one square mile with more liquor stores than grocery stores. On top of that, the surrounding community does not provide anything for those who are not 21 to do. So you have 17,000 college students who can’t go to a bar to drink legally, who don’t have cars or the money to enjoy downtown or even go to a movie. And 40s are on sale for a dollar. That’s a bad mix already. Calling someone’s mommy is not going to stop this. In recent years the incidence of violence has risen in Isla Vista; this is true. But enrollment at UCSB has also taken a jump in recent years. You have freshmen that have to spend their first year in Goleta because they didn’t get a dorm room. Yes, they are building Manzanita Village, but it should have been built long ago, but I digress. You can’t keep packing people into an area that is already too small and not expect problems. It’s a proven fact that if you put any animal, and we are animals, in close quarters, then they eventually turn and attack each other. Ask any RA; people get crazy when they don’t get their space.
Third, people don’t party more than people at other schools; it’s just more condensed. If someone has even a get-together with friends you can hear it down the street. UCLA has more students than our campus, but they are spread over Los Angeles County. If you put them all in Westwood, things would be a lot different. Also, UCSB has the largest parent income of all the UC campuses. So, rich bored kids don’t make the situation better. Not all the kids are rich, but there are a lot of them.
My last point deals with how these two young women ended their column. They talked about the poor administrators and how they have to call people’s parents when a student passes away. Low blow, ladies. Good thing school isn’t about the administrators. Now the staff here at UCSB is top-notch and I mean that. They work very hard and at times way too hard for the pay, but I think a lot of this recent worry over students is because administrators don’t want to take the flak that is unjustly put on them by parents and the local authorities. Students already take responsibility for their actions. When they have to go to Zona Seca on their bikes for a quarter, have their licenses suspended and an arrest record, I think they’re taking responsibility. When the government takes taxes out of paychecks, I am an adult. When a landlord charges a $1,000 security deposit for a one-bedroom hole with no parking or laundry, then I am an adult. Students can’t just be adults when it’s convenient and kids when the powers that be don’t like what we are doing.
I think it’s hypocritical that the university tells people’s parents what they do in I.V., but doesn’t tell what they do in the dorms. Being an RA on campus, I saw debauchery go down in halls. People even strolled through the halls shooting BB guns. The police weren’t called, let alone their parents. Besides, 84 percent of students in I.V. feel safe.
Ray Smith is a senior film studies major.