A UCSB Associated Students retreat ended in thousands of dollars in damage to a private villa rented with student fees, a Los Osos property owners’ representative said.
Lance Heck of Morrocco Method International — the corporation that owns Villa Antonio in Los Osos, Calif. — alleges that the students trashed the rental home, causing major damage to the property. Heck also claims that after the group left the retreat, held the weekend of Jan. 9, the company found a significant number of empty alcohol containers at the villa. Furthermore, Heck alleges that university administrators are aware of what occurred at the rental and have failed to respond to the owners.
“We’ve already had a really big problem with the senior staff denying what happened at the rental. It’s been all the way up to the Chancellor,” Heck said. “The damages were massive, thousands of dollars of damage.”
The Offices of the Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor refused to comment on the matter. The Office of Student Affairs did not return calls as of press time.
Heck claims A.S. signed a contract to stay at Villa Antonio — which rental Web sites list at $750 per night — under supervision of a chaperone, an agreement he says the organization did not abide by.
“Our concern is that it was rented under false pretenses, and it’s a false contract,” Heck said. “The school staff employees signed the contract — they wrote the check — now they’re in denial and not responding to any of the damages.”
At last week’s A.S. Legislative Council meeting, members held a closed session to discuss what they deemed “pending litigation.” All members of the council refused to clarify the topic of discussion.
After inquiries, A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez issued a statement yesterday on behalf of A.S. confirming the organization had been contacted regarding the retreat.
“On behalf of Associated Students, [A.S. President] Charlie Arreola and I want to be as responsive to you as possible; and assure you that we are taking this matter seriously,” Marquez wrote. “Associated Students administration and the university administration were contacted by Morrocco Method International with issues regarding the rental. From the time that we were first contacted, until now, staff, students and administration are investigating these allegations. We appreciate your patience in following up on this matter until all allegations are fully investigated and clarified.”
Heck said the owners plan to hold UCSB accountable for the situation.
“The owners are going to follow this to a national level,” Heck said. “They are furious to think that a school of this caliber would actually lie, deceive and write a contract saying they had chaperones — and our company spoke to some of the chaperones — and allow this to happen.”
Additionally, Heck said that all the damages have been photographed and written documentation has been obtained from all parties, such as housekeepers and electricians, who had to deal with the damage.
“We found massive amounts of alcohol. It would exceed over 10 quarts of vodka and tons of cases of beer,” Heck said. “The villa was trashed. The owners are furious. Our main concern is what, what if one of these students hazed or died and got in an accident? … We never dreamt they would do such a horrendous thing to the rental.”
However, according to Corey Huber, A.S. external vice president of Statewide Affairs from 2008-09, this isn’t the first time A.S. has found themselves in this situation. Last year, he said, A.S. was forced to apologize for irresponsible behavior involving alcohol during a retreat with other UCSB student organizations.
“Long story short, something very similar happened last year,” Huber, a fourth-year student currently unaffiliated with A.S. said, “We had to apologize to … not only to the facility’s staff, but A.S. students and UCSB staff and other students involved with other organizations.”
Huber said A.S. staff and the university administration facilitated a number of efforts last year to ensure that A.S. members would not commit this type of error again.
“We were very much proactive with it, and we weren’t sweeping it under the carpet,” Huber said. “We had formal contracts with [Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs] Michael Young. … We were expected to come up with a plan about being proactive about combating the alcoholism on campus and ensure that our peers didn’t lose their trust.”
Despite last year’s missteps, A.S. finds itself addressing allegations anew. The response, Heck said, has been less than proactive.
“We have documented everything, because Mr. Morrocco is not fooling around,” Heck said. “This place was rented under fraudulent conditions. They lied. The drinking orgy was unbelievable. We photographed all the bottles, all the damage, we’ve written letters. We’re all shocked that the staff of UCSB would allow this all to happen and sweep it under the carpet.”
Waste of money
To think my student fees went to these bunch of clowns.
Waste of Newspaper
To think that the Nexus is also funded by student dollars and has nothing better to report on than this trash… I think it’s all an incredible inefficiency of student dollar use– we need a restructuring of our campus and society if this our ONLY newspaper on campus focuses so much of the student dollars that go into it on something as petty and attention grabbing as this.
Waste of money1) This is a legitimate problem, a legitimate scandal and the student body should know when their booze money is taken and is applied to an insular group’s booze fund rather than its purpose to help students. 2) The Nexus is not the only newspaper on campus. There’s the Bottom Line… 3) I don’t think the Nexus is student-funded to the degree A.S. is. 4) The media? Petty and attention-grabbing? Say it ain’t so! … but this isn’t a pedantic story about what celebrity did who in what while doing X, this is blatant misuse of student funds… Read more »
Waste of comment (looking at you, leftoneright)In addition to everything nhkmty mentioned above let’s not forget to ask the following questions: 1. How much of the booze was paid for with AS funds? 2. How many AS members on the retreat were underage? 3. How much money will the University have to waste on legal fees to sort this mess out? 4. Which account is the inevitable settlement money for Morrocco coming from? 5. Were any campus vehicles used as transport to and from this retreat? 6. Which AS members went on the retreat? 7. Can AS prove that anything… Read more »
Waste of effortI can’t wait until tomorrow’s nexus comes out with a front page story about how leg council sodomized puppies during their closed door meeting. Honestly there are more deserving targets of this vendetta than the leg council. UC Execs have closed door meetings all the time, and you’re likely to get a riot baton in the face if you try to enter that meeting, but there isn’t the virulent outrage against them. Whatever happened in Los Osos is pretty irrelevant in the big picture of how our student fees our being wasted. During this so called UC State… Read more »
why are you defending a.s.
ActuallyLurchylurch, you said that ""Senior" Associate Chancellor Mark Fisher gets a promotion to a title made just for him along with a nice raise to go along with it." Just so you know, Marc Fisher is the Senior Associate VICE Chancellor. Also, you’re mistaken about hi his so-called promotion; A little more than a year ago, the previous Vice Chancellor retired. In an attempt to save money, the university decided not to fill her position, so that’s why we don’t have a vice-chancellor. Instead, Marc Fisher and fellow Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Cortes divided the workload, and the university saves… Read more »
kuruptI agree with the notion that the AS retreat pales in comparison to the UC-wide cutbacks, but it does deserve our attention. AS currently has a $9 million budget for UCSB alone, that’s not petty change. You have a right to know what the hell they’re doing with it, so the Nexus was definitely on target for the expose, and if they’re raging up in SLO, then you have a right to be pissed if someone’s taking your fees to get shit-faced. The same cronies who let this happen are the ones who are raising your fees and cutting your… Read more »
Clearly, everyone who is writing in to defend AS is actually part of AS and was probably up there partying with student money, too.