One word for the creators of thedarksideofucsb.com: hypocrites. This last Saturday, during Spring Insight, there was a plane circling around the UCSB campus and Isla Vista for three to four hours. Attached to it was the name of your website. Now imagine my surprise, as I was giving a tour to our prospective students, to see this spectacle and have to explain it to parents and students who came to find out more about the university. The fact that you would so blatantly disrespect our school appalls me.
What appalls me even more is the use of money. You spent your money on an airplane to scare students away from UCSB rather than to solve problems positively and constructively. You could have had booths promoting drug- and alcohol-free events and the other good things you are supposedly doing for the community. But no, you went with the “shock and awe” tactic and wasted hundreds of dollars. Let me tell you there was shock. Many parents were severely concerned about this advertisement, and I spent a good deal of my tours answering questions about “The Dark Side” rather than informing them of the campus itself. I did have a good laugh later on, talking with other guides about how the entrance to your website should have the ominous voice of Satan welcoming all of us to hell – but that was the limit of the entertainment value of that experience.
There are so many good things the university does offer and so many good points you neglect to take into perspective. We are the 13th-ranked public school in the nation and 43rd overall. We are one of Kaplan’s 12 hottest schools. Our physics and religious studies programs are two of the best in the nation. We are gaining academic prestige on several fronts. Undergraduates have the opportunity to take classes from Nobel laureates. You only see the social side. You do not see the other achievements UCSB has to offer. Instead you scare people away based on the “cesspool” that is Isla Vista. Isla Vista is not UCSB. Stop associating the name of this fine institution with its neighborhood counterpart.
And yes, I know Isla Vista has its faults. There is boozing, there is sex and there is a lot of stupid stuff that goes on in our little college town. It is a problem with individuals, but there are winds of change in the air. However, it will continue to be a problem until we recruit more students and more individuals willing to promote change and a more prestigious environment. But how can we do that when you scare our prospective students away with your scary “dark side” ideology?
UCSB, as I like to tell my tours, is whatever you want to make it. You can have a good time and you can excel in school. It is a question of applying yourself. It is a question of how the individual acts and reacts to the problems and issues they are presented with. We need to work together in a positive and constructive manner to deal with the issues that are confronting us. Scare tactics are not the answer.
Lauren W. Eardensohn is a political science and Italian cultural studies major.