USD warns students to avoid UCSB this Halloween
ASST. NEWS EDITOR
Every year, many students at the University of San Diego head up north to celebrate Halloween in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara is an area known for its large festivities, including Deltopia. University of California Santa Barbara’s annual spring break street party, erupted into riots and chaos last spring.
UCSB also has another large street party each October. The Halloween celebration is centered in Isla Vista, a neighborhood in Santa Barbara where many UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students live. Many people who attend the festivities come from out of town, including many USD students.
In recent years, crowd estimates during Halloween in Isla Vista have been around 30,000 people, many of which were from out-of-town schools.
USD junior and Santa Barbara native Ben Reisman explained the possible reasons for trouble occurring during the Halloween festivities in Isla Vista.
“UCSB students have told me the majority of problems that occur are people from out of town,” Reisman said. “There are a lot of people that come who don’t know anybody, and therefore don’t care about damaging property or starting fights.”
In an effort to warn those students from outside the area to stay away, UCSB has released ads with hashtags that read “Not Worth It” and “Keep Isla Vista Safe.”
Emma Westin, a senior at UCSB and Isla Vista resident, described her concerns about the upcoming holiday and past incidents.
“Isla Vista is an amazing and beautiful place to live, except on Halloween,” Westin said. “When you jam pack 20,000 to 40,000 visitors in a one square mile radius, you are just asking for trouble. Things can escalate very quickly, property gets damaged, and people can end up hurt. It’s just not fun anymore.”
According to UCSB student newspaper, The Daily Nexus, law enforcement will be taking a new precaution this year to dissuade students from other universities from attending the huge Halloween party.
Officers have implemented a parking permit program in the neighborhoods directly affected by the Isla Vista festivities. A car not equipped with a temporary parking permit for the weekend will be subjected to towing or issued a citation. Permits will only be distributed to Isla Vista residents.
In addition to the parking permits, UCSB and other agencies are planning to spend thousands of dollars in an attempt to control this year’s party, according to the Santa Barbara Independent local newspaper.
The UCSB Police Department is planning to contribute just under 50 percent of the total cost for police officers, roughly $410,000, and to borrow roughly 65 officers from other UC campuses.
Furthermore, local Santa Barbara news station, KETY, reported that fences will be placed in specific areas to keep crowds directed away from dangerous jaywalking locations.
Those entering Isla Vista will also see DUI checkpoints and checkpoint areas, where dangerous items such as swords, bats, guns and knives will be confiscated.
Despite the extra precautions put in place at UCSB, many out of town students are still expected to join in this year’s Halloween festivities in Isla Vista.
Knowing that many USD students plan to visit UCSB for the holiday, Donald Godwin, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, has sent out a campuswide email warning students to avoid attending the Halloween bash.
Goodwin explained that the increase in police officers this year could result in potential consequences for students who do not abide by the rules.
“Most misdemeanors, such as public intoxication, along with felonies, will mean spending at least one night in the Santa Barbara County jail,” Godwin said. “The Santa Barbara County District Attorney is asking for the highest possible fines and anyone under 21 years of age who is arrested for public intoxication faces the loss of his or her driver’s license for one year and probation for three years.”
Godwin believes that the email will promote the well-being of USD students as they decide how to celebrate this upcoming Halloween.
“The University of San Diego prides itself in its efforts to care for our students safety, health, and overall well-being,” Godwin said. “That said, if we have an opportunity to prevent our students from being in an environment that could have negative ramifications on their safety and well-being, we take measures to assist students in making good choices.”
Instead of heading north for Halloween, Godwin hopes to see students choose to celebrate the holiday in the local community, thus avoiding any potential dangers in Santa Barbara.
“Given the strict enforcement and the negative impact that out of area crowds have on the community of Isla Vista, I hope that you will decide to stay away for your own safety and protection and choose to celebrate Halloween locally in your own community,” Godwin said. “Enjoy this festive occasion, while being smart, safe, and watching out for one another.”
Students who chose to head to UCSB for this year’s Halloween celebration will experience the increased safety precautions around UCSB, in addition to the strict enforcement of laws meant to protect both party attendants and the Isla Vista neighborhood and its community.