After reading two editorials and the article about the Halloween post mortem (“Staff Editorial: How the Grinch Stole Halloween,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 30, “I.V. Halloween Review Faults Visiting Revelers,” Daily Nexus, Nov. 12 and “Staff Editorial: Big Mistake,” Daily Nexus, Nov. 14), I felt it was a good time to talk to students directly. My name is Carolyn Buford, and I am the person responsible in large part for the Halloween e-mail to which so many of you reacted negatively.
I am not going to offer excuses, but I am going to provide some context. We have been sending out the same, or a very similar, message for nearly a dozen years. The message was crafted with the help of students and others to let people know that the community of Isla Vista, your community, was not one that welcomed strangers who came into the community and did harm. Unfortunately, in previous years we have had reports from students about physical and sexual assaults and people have fallen from the cliffs.
Fortunately, perhaps the experience of Halloween over the last few years has changed, and current students don’t have the same perceptions about how outsiders treat the community. So, I apologize that the message was still framed as “the party’s over” and “keep it local.”
The intention was to provide information on what Halloween can be like in I.V., including all the rules that have been enacted over the years to create a safer community environment for students and nonstudents alike. I don’t apologize for caring that less harm happens to folks in I.V.; I do regret that our message of safety and concern was not clear and that we confused it with the anti-party message. I know UCSB students can be effective partners in creating a positive environment and I apologize that this was also missing from our message.
The Nexus’ editorial opinion was that our message drew more out-of-towners, but I am not sure I agree with that. We have been sending this same message for many years and have seen a decrease in the crowds over the last few years, including a Thursday night Halloween. I heard many students say they were expecting lots of friends for the Halloween weekend. I think students believe that it’s not their invited guests who cause problems, and maybe this is true. Unfortunately, some out-of-towners, invited or not, do cause harm to members of the community.
And that is why we kept the “party’s over” message.
It should be noted that only 24 UCSB students were cited or arrested over the Halloween weekend out of a total of 296 arrests and citations. So it appears that UCSB students know the rules and know how to party relatively safely. Thank you for being responsible and for giving us the feedback about the Halloween message.
I would welcome the input of any student who would like to help reshape the Halloween message so that we can still inform students and outsiders about the possible dangers of Halloween, along with the rules and expectations that this community has for behavior. As we are all members of this academic community, let’s join together to find a balance between our freedom to do as we want and the need to create a community where individuals care for one another, and can have a good time in relative safety. Please help me in creating that message. I may be reached at 893-8749 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolyn Buford is the associate dean of students.