Henry Sarria’s opinion article “Ever Try Looking in the Mirror?” (Daily Nexus, Nov. 18) portrays all UCSB students as incompetent idiots, morons and assholes. He says that Isla Vista is filled with “bimbos, freaks, haters, homeys, hoes, jocks, meatheads, nerds, opportunists, perverts, players, preppies, stoners, teasers, townies, trippers, tweakers and wannabes.” No doubt I am not immune from labeling people. Yet, Mr. Sarria, who asks us to look into the mirror, is quite willing to dish out a plethora of degrading labels. What gives this man the right to bash students so blatantly?
Mr. Sarria supports his claims of student incompetence through the examples of extreme and horrifying cases. Slava Olsen was guilty of involuntary manslaughter and assault with force. David Attias ran over and killed four people while under the influence of drugs. These examples of appalling student violence must be prevented from happening again.
Sarria fails to distinguish the difference between horrible accounts of violence and the infinitely more common cases of public intoxication and minor in possession. These are also illegal and require police action; however, there are allegations of individuals being harassed and discriminated against by the police for appearing to be under the influence of alcohol. In the meantime, more serious accounts of violently belligerent individuals seem to go ignored.
The IVFP’s Fall Offensive has been largely a proactive means of targeting individuals who could potentially become belligerent and violent. This is under the assumption that, following the same logic of Mr. Sarria, the combination of incompetent “freaks,” “hoes” and “tweakers” with alcohol creates “instant assholes.”
What has happened in I.V., however, is an increase in illegal behavior on the part of police officers. It seems that the Fall Offensive has focused narrowly on alcohol abuses, and not enough on more harmful or violent crimes. In cracking down on students, many officers have harassed individuals on the basis of appearance.
If we are discussing incompetence and illegality, we need to make sure that we do indeed look into the mirror. While some students have been guilty of illegal activity, police officers also may be guilty of misconduct. This is why the A.S. Student Lobby has initiated its Fall Defensive. We as students must be responsible. Those who are are guilty deserve to face the consequences of their actions. Student Lobby advocates not student immunity from the law, but rather educating students about the law and their rights as citizens.
Police must not be immune from the law either. The Fall Defensive campaign wishes to empower students who have suffered from police discrimination and harassment. The more true accounts of police misconduct Student Lobby collects, the better we can hold accountable those police officers who are guilty. Some have wrongly criticized the campaign for not working with law enforcement officials to achieve these goals. It must be emphasized that our goal is to work closely with police authority. Student Lobby is working together with A.S. Commission on Public Safety, A.S. Legal Resource Center and IVFP Lt. Sol Linver to ensure that those officers who have been guilty of misconduct are held accountable.
Student Lobby encourages students to submit complaint forms. You can bring completed forms to the A.S. Main Office or to one of our various drop boxes in I.V. located at Sam’s To Go, D(j( Vu and Kung Pao Kitchen. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail Student Lobby at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in helping Student Lobby’s investigation of the police, meetings are held every Monday at 8:30 p.m. at the A.S. Main Office. We are also looking for anyone interested in filming the officers in Isla Vista during the weekends. We want to ensure the IVFP is out there to serve and protect us. Student Lobby is not anti-cop. We are anti-misconduct.
Rachel DiFranco is a senior global studies major.