The UCSB Rules and Regulation Committee convened again yesterday in a closed meeting that resulted in tie with seven votes each, thwarting proposed off-campus alcohol and drug amendments from falling into university jurisdiction.
In a secret ballot vote conducted at the Student Resource Building, the 14 member committee, composed of both students and administration, spilt dead even on the controversial issue of extending the administration’s authority to prosecute egregious cases of alcohol distribution and drug sale or manufacture in Isla Vista.
Since approval of the new regulations required an 8-6 vote, the additions were entirely scratched from the proposal. However, the board did approve extending university jurisdiction to cover cases of theft and arson including couch and dumpster fires, items that will face further debate from the community at the town hall forum on May 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Office of the Student Advocate General Mark Regus, who was recently elected by undergraduates as the student advisor for judicial affairs within the university’s jurisdiction, said he participated in the vote and was surprised by the results, since most of the committee members were not students.
“The alcohol and drug portions were struck, in a 7-7 tie,” Regus a third-year law & society major, said. “There were only five students, so some administration did vote against the amendments which I found interesting.”
He also said he was satisfied with the outcome of the committee’s vote because it demonstrated a fair process that took students’ views into consideration.
“I am pleased because it was done in a democratic manner,” Regus said. “The board made insightful and intelligent decisions and took all of the discussions and student’s comments to heart. I was afraid our vote would not count so this feels like a victory.”
Newly elected Associated Students President Stephanie Brower said that while the original proposal was controversial, the committee seemed to have ensured that the student voices were accounted for.
“I expected it to be a close and contentious issue but it was a really encouraging morning,” Brower said. “There was a lot of support from administration; they really listened to the students.”
Fourth-year dramatic arts major Emily Scott said she supported the committee’s decision not to include the alcohol and drug-related amendments to university regulations guide, citing that it was the students’ own responsibility to police their personal lives.
“I think it is a good thing,” Scott said. “Isla Vista has a culture that is separate from the university. It should be up to the students to find a balance, and the university should trust their students to do that themselves, not play the role of parent.”
Joe Navarro, Associate Vice Chancellor of Judicial Affairs who holds a vote on the committee, said he was also satisfied with the results produced, particularly because they represented the opinions of the student body.
“This process should be democratic – everyone should have a voice and an input and that was the outcome,” Navarro said. “We voted on revised policies and some passed and some did not. It was a good process and I am happy with the outcome because the students’ feelings counted and that is always a good feeling.”
According to Regus, while the approved regulations will be subject to further debate at next week’s open forum and require approval by Chancellor Henry T. Yang, the proposed amendments are now terminated.
“The board struck it down so it will not be included in the open forum,” he said. “I believe it is dead in the water, I do not believe the chancellor has the power to [resurrect] the amendments.”
The Campus Regulations Review Committee, meets every four years to revise campus policies. Once the committee completes its review, the revised policies are subject to a public forum and later reviewed by the university’s Office of the General Counsel and by Chancellor Henry T. Yang.
The university first extended its jurisdiction into I.V. in August 2001, when it began subjecting students involved in crimes of physical abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment and hazing to university hearings before the Student-Faculty Committee on Student Conduct, which can suspend or expel students.