Zachariah Hubbell got many things wrong in his article, “UCSB Should Punish Serious Crimes Committed in I.V.” (Daily Nexus, May 17). The article discusses the Campus Regulations Review Committee’s proposal to punish students for their criminal behavior out in I.V. Here is its first deceiving statement: “The Associate Dean of Students promised students that administrators would not put drug and alcohol offenses in the hot seat. …” Well, perhaps the student body should also know that Dean was quoted by the Nexus as saying, “What we’re proposing to do is include explicitly … arson and prohibiting alcohol to minors and sales or provision of illegal substances to other people,” They should also know that Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Young stated, “We’re only looking at egregious provisions of alcohol to minors.” Seems to me that the people in this committee are quite interested in busting people for alcohol and other drugs.
One of the next arguments is just downright illogical: “It is not that far-fetched to suggest that severe violators of the law – meaning the rapists and drunk drivers, not the Friday night boozers – be suspended or expelled from our school. Wouldn’t this likely improve the quality of the student body as a whole?” Wow, Zach, you’re so right. If only there were some way we could separate the people who don’t follow society’s rules from the rest of us – maybe some place where we could lock them up to keep them separate from those of us who are not dangerous. Oh wait, that’s prison. You see, it’s the criminal justice system’s job to decide when a person should be removed from a community, not the school’s responsibility. I mean, think about it, if you are convicted of raping someone, you are going to jail, not back to UCSB. This committee could suspend or expel people who only had minor offenses, like possession of marijuana or providing alcohol to minors.
If you feel that it’s crazy for the University to try to police our behavior off campus, don’t just bitch about it. Please do something proactive, like write and e-mail or call the people involved in making these decisions and let it be known know that the students won’t stand for this. Here is the e-mail that I am sending to Dean of Students Yonie Harris, Isla Vista Commission Co-Chairs Walter Yuen and Harry Nelson, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Young and Chancellor Henry Yang. If you really have a bad case of sloth, feel free to just copy my letter and send it in:
“While I appreciate the idea behind the Campus Regulations Review Committee proposal, I disagree with how it is being carried out. Trying to increase student safety and the quality of our community are both admirable causes. However, the University should only concern itself with what occurs on campus. The administration’s job is to keep UCSB running in top shape, keep the students safe (while on campus), and to attract new students. I can tell you that the thought of having a college police my behavior off campus is most unappealing, as I’m sure many prospective students would agree. Also consider that the committee will most likely fail in its goal of deterring crime: Unwanted behavior cannot be stopped by increasing punishments. Let me evidence the war on drugs. Despite a marked increase in arrests for marijuana-related crimes over the last 15 years, the number of marijuana users has increased in that same period of time. In fact, despite the passing of more draconian drug laws, drug use as a whole has been on the rise. Please don’t make the same mistake as the government by believing that you can stop people from hurting themselves by punishing them.
It is not the University’s job to try to control our actions outside of school – it is law enforcement’s responsibility. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to make sure that citizens behave themselves. If the law decides that someone has done something so heinous that they should be locked up, then problem solved. The offender will not be able to attend the University because he or she will be in jail. However, if someone commits a minor crime that doesn’t require jail time, I fail to see how cutting someone off from his or her education will benefit anyone. Is it going to help that person turn his or her life around? Is it going to benefit our community to have some young adult’s future put into jeopardy?”
Alex Coffman is a freshman biopsychology major.