A Santa Barbara City College student died after falling off a 40-foot cliff on Sept. 2 on the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista. 

The Santa Barbara Coroner’s Bureau identified the decedent as 19-year-old Benjamin Scott Schurmer from Ojai, California, according to Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Raquel Zick. 

Santa Barbara County (SBC) Fire Department Public Information Officer Scott Safechuck said nearby citizens performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation prior to the arrival of SBC Fire Department’s first responders, but despite their efforts Schurmer was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) released a statement today following Zick’s tweet, sharing their condolences with Schurmer’s loved ones and urging Isla Vista residents to learn more about cliff safety. 

“Our hearts go out to his family and the families who have suffered losses and tragedies due to the bluffs,” the statement read.

“The IVCSD urges you to learn about this issue and spread the word,” the statement continued. “Being proactive and preventative can save lives.” 

The I.V. community has long discussed safety around its cliffs and bluffs as a hazard and concern. With the bluffs retreating at an average rate of six inches per year, the erosion of the cliffs — worsened by single-event cliff failures — has caused the deaths of at least five community members in the last two decades. 

The cause and manner of death are pending, according to Zick. 

The Nexus will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. 


Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Deputy News Editor, Community Outreach News Editor for the 2022-23 school year and the 2021-22 school year and an Assistant News Editor during the 2020-21 school year. They can be reached at asumishuda@dailynexus.com or news@dailynexus.com.