Fellow UCSB students,

Do you know what your degree is worth? After the violence and terror of Saturday’s annual street party, Deltopia, your degree will not compare to others from top research universities. Why? Because of our reputation as nothing more than a party school where violence, gang rapes, and stabbings are just a part of the norm.

How many of you receive UCSB alerts on a Friday night and don’t even think twice about the stabbing on Camino Del Sur or the assault with a deadly weapon on Sueno? It’s easy to think that since you are just one student out of 22,000 that you can’t do much about the violent, party school reputation. But that is not the way Gauchos should think! You got into this school because you worked hard and you deserve to be here! You deserve to live the beachside Gaucho way of life, where we work hard and play even harder. You deserve to celebrate Halloween and Deltopia … but do your 10 “best friends” from high school deserve it?

No, they don’t. This is our home. This is where we live, learn and love! And yet I have never felt as disrespected as I did on Saturday night. We are not the trash can of Southern California, where people bus it here to get drunk and violent, trash our homes, assault our police and riot … because why? Because they can?

Students at UC Davis and UC Berkley have been pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed just like us. But what were they protesting? Tuition raises and the UC Regents’ salary increases. What did we riot for on Saturday? The right to party.

And six officers were injured on Saturday … It is never okay to assault a police officer. They aren’t trying to take away your right to party, they are trying to keep us safe. They’ve seen the past tragedies of students falling to their death from the cliffs, the overdoses, and the sexual assault victims. They are trying to protect you, and when a riot breaks out, they do what is necessary for the good of the people.

Now is the time when we have to start working to turn this school around. A party school reputation isn’t all that bad when you have seven Nobel Prize winners on your staff and a collective student body made up of some of the most talented, intelligent and hard-working people in the county. But this increasingly violent reputation filled with stories of assaults against the police, gang rapes and stabbings … it has to end. Now.

It’s easy to put the blame on out-of-towners coming to Isla Vista to live vicariously through the students who actually deserve to be here. It’s harder to realize that we are a part of the problem, ruining the worth of our degrees by letting half of our high school class crash on our floors for Halloween and Deltopia.

That is why I am proposing that UCSB students, SBCC students, and the community of Isla Vista follow the ideology that A.S. promoted last Halloween: “Keep It Safe, Keep It Local.” You should be proud that you are a Gaucho, you should be proud that you deserve to be here, and you should be able to celebrate your successes with fellow Gauchos — let’s keep it that way.

Gaucho Pride is so much more than doing the “Ole” chant at soccer games. Rather, Gaucho Pride should mean protecting our investments in our own educations. So, let’s all start getting our Gaucho Pride on; help me, and all of our current, future and past Gauchos, come up with new ways to keep our school-spirited holidays safe and local.

Christy Gross is a second-year psychology major.

This is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.
The views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB and are primarily submitted by students.