In commemoration of the victims of the 2014 Isla Vista Tragedy, the UC Santa Barbara Dean of Students Office, and Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs (EVPLA) office organized a memorial at Love and Remembrance Garden on May 23, 2023. 

Notes and flowers from community members adorn the bench commemorating Katie Cooper. Sindhu Ananthavel / Daily Nexus

On May 23, 2014, six people lost their lives and 13 others were injured in the 2014 I.V. Tragedy.

The victims were George Chen, Cheng Yuan “James” Hong, Weihan “David” Wang, Katherine Breann Cooper, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez and Veronika Weiss. 

The Love and Remembrance Garden — located in People’s Park — contains six wooden benches, each commemorating a victim of the tragedy. 

As part of the memorial, framed photos and biographies of each student adorned the benches, along with flowers, paper and pencils for community members to write messages of remembrance.

UCSB Associate Dean of Student Life Kim Equinoa said the Dean of Students Office set up the photos, and the EVPLA office prepared the space for notes of remembrance. 

Though previous annual commemorations of the tragedy have included vigils, Equinoa said there is not one organized by the university this year. However, she encouraged other ways to honor the lives of the victims.  

“Everyone is invited to take time today to visit the Garden to reflect and remember our shared history and the strength that we have as a community,” she said.

Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVPRD) maintains the benches, and also made significant updates to the Remembrance Garden prior to the anniversary of the tragedy, according to IVRPD Board Clerk Nick Norman.

“The IVRP Grounds Team planted 200 perennial plants, installed drip irrigation, and a fresh new layer of decomposed granite on the Remembrance Garden trail in preparation for this year’s memorial,” Norman said in a statement to the Nexus.

Equinoa urged students to visit the UCSB Remembers website, containing the biographies of the victims, memorial archives and further information.

“Many faculty, staff, administrators, and graduate students on campus today were here during the 2014 event and hold a deep connection to the collective grief and solidarity that emerged,” Equinoa said in a statement to the Nexus. “It is important for our community to remember this moment in our history and the light that emerged to strengthen us.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the May 25, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.

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Sindhu Ananthavel
Sindhu Ananthavel (she/they) is the Deputy News Editor for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, Ananthavel was a Community Outreach Editor for the 2021-22 school year and an assistant news editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at news@dailynexus.com