Perhaps the name of our website, www.thedarksideofucsb.com, is just too subtle; or perhaps we are merely misunderstood. Let us reason together to clarify our mutual positions.
We get lots of e-mail from people (mostly UCSB students and staff) who request, suggest or demand that we should not be allowed to publish our website – so much for the UCSB-bastion-of-free-speech theory. Also imbedded within these tomes is a constant cry for us to publish positive articles about UCSB and Isla Vista. – to make our site more fair and balanced. I suppose they would like us to be more like FOX News. They claim we are one-sided and don’t publish the good news.
Let’s put this in perspective: We publish the dark side, not the light side. The University and its supporters have literally hundreds – probably thousands – of sites that point out all the The university spends millions of dollars annually to enhance its positive image and to bury its negative points – most large organizations do the same. The most obvious examples that come to mind are Enron, Halliburton, Wal-Mart and the entire Department of Defense.
Take a look at the videos of the mobs, cops, booze, drugs and fights that the Dark Side filmed in I.V. Have you ever seen this type of information on a UCSB website? Have you ever heard the UCSB public relations machine mention the mayhem in I.V.? Before you write us an e-mail about the videos being an anomaly, they are not. Moreover, they were not filmed during the Halloween festivities (when all hell breaks loose and hundreds are arrested), but rather, on a few random spring weekends.
The Dark Side does many positive things; we have funded dozens of events including men’s tennis, women’s tennis, Women’s Ensemble Theater Troupe, Students Stopping Rape, leadership conferences and Joining All Cultures Together. We also contribute money directly to the university. We fund these programs to help students keep away from the negative aspects of the UCSB/I.V. experience.
UCSB has spent a small fortune suppressing speech about UCSB that it does not find acceptable. The Dark Side points this out because no one else can. UCSB attacks people who publish websites that are intended to provide forums for reform or merely cyber griping. UCSB tried to shut down www.thedarksideofucsb.com but failed because they realized that we could not be intimidated and were more than willing to fight. UCSB threatened us with criminal and civil prosecution. UCSB even threatened our Internet service provider with criminal prosecution. UCSB backed down when we hired lawyers. Bullies usually do back down when you call their bluff.
If you want to read about the happy stuff, go to UCSB’s websites – UCSB is never shy about tooting its own horn. If you want to see what the university does not want you to see, visit the Dark Side.
James Baron is the parent of a former UCSB student.