After reading Vice Chancellor Michael Young’s recent mass e-mail regarding the Floatopia 2 situation, I find myself conflicted. On one hand, I agree with him on the hypocrisy of some UCSB students, who tout their environmental activism only when it doesn’t interfere with their partying. However, on the other, I’m a little put off by his antagonistic tone and basic generalization that every Floatopia attendee was some deranged nut job.
Young’s implication that the students are solely responsibility for this unfortunate mess is disingenuous when this is partially a case of “you reap what you sow.” For years, UCSB has taken a laissez-faire approach to its image control. While choosing to accentuate the university’s freedom and individual choice to prospective students, the administrators also allowed the misguided common conception of our campus as a “party” school to grow, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in the process.
Vice Chancellor Young’s e-mail read like a sudden realization of the extent that this monster has become. Floatopia did not come out of nowhere. It was the culmination of years of indifference the university had toward the way certain students have treated both their campus and the surrounding community as nothing more than free play things. And now, predictably, the administration is overreacting to the warning signs they should have seen coming. Demonizing the students and turning Floatopia into a divisive issue of “for” or “against” isn’t the correct response; some work toward moderation, restraint and responsibility on ALL sides would have been much better.