A meeting of campus officials and law enforcement concluded that Del Playa Drive was beyond maximum capacity on Halloween night.
The meeting, hosted by the Office of Student Life’s Major Events Committee, was held Monday to discuss the results of Halloween festivities in Isla Vista and how UCSB can work with the Isla Vista community to make next year’s revelry more safe.
Associated Students, I.V. Recreation and Parks District, UC Police Dept., Community Service Officers, Transportation and Parking Services and the Residence Halls Association were among the groups that met with Associate Dean of Students Carolyn Buford for a review of this year’s Halloween in Isla Vista.
Cliff Williams of the California Highway Patrol, who experienced his first Halloween in Isla Vista this year, made the opening comments at the gathering.
“I was impressed at the coordination between all the branches of law enforcement,” Williams said. “Our primary purpose is to keep everyone safe. We had back-to-back sobriety check points Friday and Saturday nights and cited 11 DUIs for 1,000 screened vehicles on Friday night.”
Williams said he also observed many lost partygoers roaming the streets of I.V. and an intense overcrowding problem.
“I saw people just wandering up and down the streets because they had lost their friends,” Williams said. “In the future, we need a group that will help disoriented students find their way back. It was a cold evening, and in some cases the lost people didn’t have a lot of clothes on, and didn’t have their cell phones with them because they had no place to put them, which made it hard to call for help. The overcrowding problems on DP didn’t make it any easier. There was so much dense crowding that sometimes the crowds weren’t moving either way.”
I.V. Foot Patrol Lt. Tom McKinny said police were caught off guard by the number of revelers Friday night.
“Friday night took us by surprise, again,” McKinny said. “The numbers were overwhelming. There were too many folks.”
McKinny suggested further efforts might be in order next year.
“Next year, we will look at having no parking on Del Playa at all,” McKinny said. “Also, we need more paramedics. We used up all of the South County resources [this year].”
Many of the meeting’s attendees stressed that out-of-town visitors, not UCSB students, are the main cause of most of I.V.’s Halloween problems. Despite a letter distributed by UCSB administrators to 115 colleges throughout California and Arizona asking students not to make the trip to Santa Barbara for Halloween, approximately three quarters of the 98 arrests in I.V. over the weekend were out-of-towners.
“The intent of the letter is to warn people that this is not the safest place to be on Halloween weekend,” Buford said. “My concern is how to keep out-of-towners out of here — which would need to be a student and resident effort.”
Visitors from outside Santa Barbara posed a problem for residents as well as police UCPD CSO Coordinator, Jill Singletary said.
“Other colleges’ students are using up our law enforcement resources. It is unfair to our students,” Singletary said.
The strain visitors place on already crowded I.V. parking also was discussed. Associated Students President Miguel Lopez said he saw people walking from the Motel 6 on Calle Real to I.V., a distance of about four miles.
While many authorities anticipated problems at the residence halls, most reported a calm atmosphere on Halloween weekend.
“Everyone thought Francisco Torres [Residence Hall] was going to be a major problem — a big party,” Singletary said. “But it was dead.”
San Miguel Hall and Manzanita Village experienced problems with the large number of people who stumbled off the streets looking for a restroom in the dorms. Sgt. Suzanne Malloy of the UCPD said students should expect to see an increased police presence in that area next year.
“In preparation for next year, we will prepare the west side of campus to monitor the foot traffic,” Malloy said in reference to problems at Manzanita Village. “People went on campus to get fresh air, but unfortunately that involved reloading up on alcohol from their cars in the parking lot.”
Additional ideas for next year’s Halloween, which will be on a Sunday, were also discussed.
“Next year it will be better to have more lighting, because the floodlights really helped this year,” Singletary said. “The lights seemed to slow people down; people would congregate with their friends at the sources.”
The meeting adjourned with the general consensus that out-of-town revelers are the biggest problem facing UCSB and the I.V. community.
“I was heartened to see the ‘go home’ banners [displayed by residents] on Del Playa,” McKinny said. “The locals recognize this is an out-of-town problem.”