The Nexus compiled profiles of our current Associated Students elected officials to reflect on their past year in office. As they look back on their campaign platforms, we asked our elected officials to tell us about their successes and shortfalls throughout their terms in office. The term in reviews for the other executives can be viewed at dailynexus.com and/or in our May 16, 2024, print edition.

External Vice President for Local Affairs and fourth-year psychological and brain sciences major Osaze Osayande reflected on her term for the 2023-24 academic year, which focused on expanding non-punitive measures, securing health and safety resources and increasing office transparency.

EVPLA Osaze Osayande reflected on her term for the 2023-24 school year. Nexus File Photo

The External Vice President for Local Affairs (EVPLA) is the liaison between the University and I.V. entities. Unlike other UCs, UC Santa Barbara is the only campus that has a position for EVPLA in Associated Students (A.S.). Before becoming EVPLA, Osayande was the office’s community service outreach director in 2022-23.

Osayande’s primary effort in her term was reforming the Restorative Justice Program, which waives I.V. residents’ nonviolent misdemeanor citations through a two-hour class on the history, need and improvements of the I.V. community and four hours of community service. Osayande and the EVPLA office gauged student opinions through town halls and a survey, and had conversations throughout the academic year with the Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP) and the UC Police Department (UCPD).

In those conversations, Osayande worked toward decreasing the number of citations for nonviolent misdemeanors and standardizing police practices. For example, monitoring the number of officers interacting with a student facing a nonviolent misdemeanor citation like an open-container violation.

She also worked to change the program from its current opt-in approach to an opt-out one, as students noted accessibility issues. Currently, it’s up to the lieutenant’s discretion whether someone is eligible for restorative justice or not without providing a reason why. With an opt-out approach, certain citations would be automatically eligible for the program and the lieutenant could decide if it was not on a case-by-case basis.

Over the summer, she changed the language on the UCSB UCPD website to make it visible that marijuana-related citations are part of the program, as it previously did not display it. 

She remarked that working with UCPD was easier than with IVFP and Lieutenant Garrett TeSlaa.

“Foot Patrol was not easy to work with. TeSlaa wasn’t easy to work with. I think he just doesn’t really take students’ perspectives into consideration,” Osayande said. “We just weren’t met with a lot of reception, you know, it was very much a closed-off conversation and they weren’t very receptive to really anything that we had to say.”

Two weeks before Deltopia, IVFP decided to suspend restorative justice for Deltopia weekend, I.V.’s annual unsanctioned street festival, after conversations with the EVPLA who highly discouraged the decision. Osayande shared a petition against the suspension — though it got few signatories — and hosted a town hall to get students involved.

“I was really proud of the engagement that my office was able to gain from that and engaging with community members and starting that conversation. I was really proud of the coalition building we were able to do with a lot of student leaders and discussing and organizing ways that we can engage with Foot Patrol to reconsider their decision,” Osayande said.

She felt the efforts helped spark conversation surrounding the “motives behind the decision” and how it was “helpful to students.” Osayande hopes the next EVPLA will continue the office’s work on non-punitive policing.

“There were a lot of community concerns , in terms of over-policing and policing in Isla Vista, and that’s obviously something that I was aware of coming into this role, but I think my town hall really allowed students to voice that directly,” Osayande said.

Additionally, per increasing transparency, the EVPLA hosted quarterly town halls for the Isla Vista community starting in winter quarter to voice their concerns, regarding Deltopia, Halloween, safety and health. EVPLA also distributed surveys on housing and street lighting.

UCIV, an effort to provide food, safety and escort services in Isla Vista, that was brought back by the former EVPLA Hailey Stankiewicz last year, had a tent on Little Acorn Park. Since then, through work with the Isla Vista Parks and Recreations District, the tent was moved to Camino Pescadero park. EVPLA elect and third-year and history of public policy and law major Owen Meyers wants to have a second tent stationed on Abrego near the Greek fraternity houses.

“We saw from maybe tens to hundreds of people seeing a UCIV tent a weekend to hundreds to up to 1000 and more,” Osayande said.

Through a partnership with the office of Santa Barbara County Second District Supervisor Laura Capps, the EVPLA distributed Narcan at Walter Capps Park before Deltopia weekend and collaborated with Gauchos 4 Recovery to distribute Narcan during Deltopia. For overdose prevention week, EVPLA hosted a “Know Your Rights/Deltopia Prep Workshop” and distributed Deltopia Preparedness Kits they prepared with End Overdose UCSB

The EVPLA also hosted several community-centered events with free food catering and student resources, including the fall back to school night, monthly STI testing “screen a thons,” the voter registration drive, the “Haunt the Loop” and a beach cleanup, among others.

In EVPLA’s healthcare promotions week in November, it hosted workshops on navigating health insurance and safe partying.

“I am really proud of the engagement we’ve been able to do with Gauchos 4 Recovery and Life of the Party in terms of event programming and UCIV and getting overdose prevention resources to community members throughout the year,” Osayande said.

Osayande is currently working on creating a cliff safety memorial for decedents of cliff incidents with Santa Barbara County Second District Supervisor Capps. 

On May 30, the EVPLA is hosting a spring concert to close off the year. 

When asked about making good use of her platform points, Osayande said she feels she’s “made progress” for several of them. 

“I feel like there’s definitely some things that I feel like I completed and some things that I feel like could have gone farther. But I think I definitely did a good job of building a foundation for the next EVPLA to continue that progress,” Osayande said.

Osayande wished that she was able to make more progress on the policing in the community as “many community members feel it is unsafe in Isla Vista.”

“It was a challenging position to be in and obviously running you’re super excited and you have a lot that you wanna do but I don’t think I knew how challenging it would be,” Osayande said. “I really did do my best and me as a person, if I wanna do something it’s hard for me not to do it, but in terms of things like that I feel confident that I did as much as I could.”

She hopes the future EVPLA Owen Meyers will realize the UCIV expansion and be engaged in voting advocacy for the 2024-25 election year.

“I have no doubt he’s going to be successful as we’ve worked so hard together throughout the year in terms of UCIV and I’ve seen how hard he works and how passionate he is,” Osayande said.

As Osayande graduates this year, she said the greatest takeaway from her time as EVPLA was seeing the impact students have in the community and how her events and projects had real impacts.

“Students are so powerful and it’s been really empowering to see students come together and work together throughout this past year and make a difference in our community and our campus,” Osayande said.

This article was edited on May 17, 10 a.m., to correct that UCIV was not created by former EVPLA Hailey Stankiewicz, but brought back by her office after it paused its service since COVID-19, there is one, not two UCIV tents, and EVPLA’s pre-Deltopia Narcan distribution was with Capp’s office, not Gauchos 4 Recovery.

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the May 16, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.

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Lizzy Rager
Lizzy Rager (she/her) is the Assistant News Editor for the 2024-25 school year. She can be reached at lizzyrager@dailynexus.com