Cutting through skeletons, ninjas and even the Super Mario Bros., Chancellor Henry T. Yang suddenly stopped before a house on Del Playa Drive where he was greeted by a row of shirtless men.
Upon seeing the chancellor, the men behind the house fence each raised a scorecard displaying the number 10.
“Is that really the chancellor?” third-year physiology major Max Bottaro said.
Bottaro lowered his scorecard and shook the chancellor’s hand. The other men followed suit. Another student handed Yang his cell phone and had the chancellor speak to former Associated Students President Jared Goldschen. Meanwhile, as Yang was greeting students, a professional photographer resembling Peter Parker took several flash shots of the chancellor. He then handed Yang his business card and continued shooting Isla Vista’s Halloween revelry.
Passing through I.V. on Saturday night, Yang frequently stopped and chatted with students on DP and conversed with police officers in front of Embarcadero Hall and the I.V. Foot Patrol office. Accompanied by his wife, Dilling Yang, and UCSB researcher and Fields Medal winner Michael Freedman, the chancellor recounted his annual visits through I.V. during Halloween weekend.
“This is a lot of fun,” Yang said. “I’ve done this every year since I became chancellor.”
On one occasion, Yang said he invited a representative from the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control to walk alongside him. He said the visit resulted in a $200,000 grant from the department stipulated for keg-tracking by serial code.
Just before entering the crowded Del Playa Drive, Yang stopped over by a police barricade in front of the Super Cucas restaurant near Trigo Road. He asked Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. Deputy Joe Smith how this year’s Halloween weekend compared to prior festivities.
“So far, so good,” Smith said. “This year’s a little more tempered. I’ve been here every year for the last 31 years. After this one, I’m going to retire. … [and] take my grandkids trick-or-treating.”
Yang then thanked Smith for his years of service and said he hoped UCSB students were taking care of each other.
“I worry about so many out-of-towners,” Yang said. “Every year I walk here, I’m overwhelmed. I hope students stay safe.”
Afterward, Yang made his way to DP where he interviewed students and discovered that most were from out of town.
“I can usually tell right away,” Yang said. “They don’t recognize me.”
Indeed, it took the chancellor several attempts to find UCSB students. In one instance, a Halloween partygoer looked puzzled and told Yang he was from Los Angeles while another man dressed as the Wendy’s mascot yelled, “Hot juicy burgers!” In another interview, the chancellor asked a young, costumeless man where he was from, to which he replied, “I, uh, I, uh, I don’t know.” The chancellor laughed.
“You don’t even speak English,” he said.
It then took Yang about half an hour until he found two UCSB freshmen. First-year business economics major Eddie Ho said he was enjoying his experience.
“I’m just going around and seeing the atmosphere,” Ho said. “I’m not drinking tonight. I think a lot of people are from out of town.”
As Yang continued down DP, he came across a few revelers who appeared under the influence. He asked one partygoer where he was from and the man responded with an agitated stare. The chancellor smiled.
“You’re not from here,” he said.
However, when Yang did find UCSB students, the meetings were usually more pleasant. Students dressed in a myriad of costumes ranging from the cast of Street Fighter to a couple wrapped in yellow caution tape all stopped in their tracks to shake hands with the chancellor and tell him how much they have enjoyed their experiences at UCSB.
As he was leaving DP, a group of women in ladybug costumes screamed and ran over to the chancellor with their cameras in a fashion reminiscent of the Beatles first visit to the U.S.
The chancellor smiled and agreed to have his photo taken with the women.