September 25, 2014
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
As we near the start of the new academic year, I write my fifth update on the plans and actions the University is undertaking to enhance security and safety, as well as the living and learning environment of our students, both on campus and in Isla Vista.
First let me take this opportunity to thank all the members of our community: faculty, staff, students, donors, parents, our Foundation Trustees, alumni, and IV residents. Many of you have devoted your time over the summer to work toward positive change on our campus and in Isla Vista. This has been a community-wide effort, and it demonstrates the spirit of UC Santa Barbara. I am especially grateful to our Trustees, friends, and alumni whose generous support is providing the resources for many of the following initiatives.
I also want to extend my appreciation to our local governmental and elected officials and to our colleagues at Santa Barbara City College for joining us in efforts to address these important issues.
Our students will see a significant number of changes when they return to campus next week. The additional lighting and fencing on campus and in Isla Vista, which I have discussed in previous communications, are only two of a number of actions we have taken, and we are making progress on many others.
Increased University Presence in Isla Vista
We continue to move forward on a number of initiatives to enhance the University’s presence in Isla Vista. Many believe that a master lease program in which the University leases and manages an entire residential property has great potential. The University has one such arrangement in place in Isla Vista. The arrangement has been well received by students, and has allowed the University more oversight in off-campus housing. We will continue to pursue this strategy. We are also seeking to identify key locations for possible housing for faculty and staff, as well as campusmanaged student housing. One of the projects we are evaluating is the mixed-use Ocean Road housing project. Outlined in the 2010 Long Range Development Plan, the project would provide more than 500 units of faculty and staff housing at the interface of Isla Vista and the core campus.
To better understand the challenges and to share ideas about positive changes that can be made in Isla Vista, we continue to meet with residents and landlords in Isla Vista. Over the summer, I have attended three town hall-type meetings with long-term residents in Isla Vista.
Throughout the summer, the Academic Senate and many members of our UC Santa Barbara faculty have been developing a number of initiatives related to bringing more academic programming to Isla Vista, and increasing the faculty presence there. The Academic Senate will hold a series of faculty forums during the fall quarter to discuss additional ideas and ways to implement some of these initiatives. The University, with the support of the Chancellor’s Office and the leadership of the Academic Senate, is planning to house our Isla Vista-based academic initiatives in temporary modular units to be sited on campus properties in Isla Vista.
In an earlier letter, I wrote that Student Affairs was exploring the possibility of leasing office space in Isla Vista with the goal of placing counseling and student advocacy services within the immediate community. During the interim, as we work toward securing an appropriate location, we are exploring the viability of placing temporary modular units on campus properties in Isla Vista for this purpose as well.
Faculty Dinner Program In Isla Vista
In consultation with Academic Senate Chair Kum-Kum Bhavnani and following many good suggestions from members of our faculty, as of October 1, we will sponsor a Faculty Dinner Program in Isla Vista financed by UCSB donors. This program will allow our faculty to extend interaction with undergraduate students beyond classrooms, laboratories, and other campus facilities to the IV community where so many of our students live. A description of the program has been posted at http://chancellor.ucsb.edu/memos/faculty.dinner.in.isla.vista.program.pdf.
I want to thank our donors for their generosity in sponsoring this pilot program, effective until May 31, 2015. Through this program, our faculty (including lecturers) will be able to understand better the many facets of students’ lives in Isla Vista. We hope that participants will be able to help shape our campus strategies, and work with students to transform Isla Vista into a college town with a living and learning environment that complements the excellence, diversity, and preeminent world-class stature of UC Santa Barbara.
Engaging the County and Community
Working in collaboration with the County, we are urging elected officials to consider taking action on some projects or initiatives that fall under the County’s purview. For example, the University is advocating for the development of a permit parking initiative in Isla Vista to limit street parking for visitors between midnight and 5 a.m. that could help to address some of the safety issues. We also continue to work with County officials, including the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the City of Goleta, to address ways to improve enforcement of existing codes and ordinances. To that end we have reached out to Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams for their assistance at the state level. In addition, we support new ordinances to improve safety conditions in Isla Vista, such as the ability of the County to double fines during Halloween and Deltopia, and ordinances related to addressing problem properties.
The University is an active participant on a variety of committees and task forces, all working toward solutions to the challenges presented by Isla Vista. These groups have included representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara City College, the City of Goleta, and Santa Barbara County. In addition, the Trustees’ Advisory Committee, chaired by Trustee and Professor Emeritus Duncan Mellichamp, is continuing its work and expects to present recommendations to the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board in October.
Preventing Sexual Violence
In my July 30 message to the faculty regarding Isla Vista, I included a section on the University’s multi-faceted response to incidents of sexual violence. In that message I highlighted many of our model programs, including the Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE) program, and many faculty and staff colleagues and students have expressed a desire to become more involved in these efforts.
The CARE program provides regular training for teaching assistants and faculty members in collaboration with the Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment/Title IX Compliance (OEOSH/TC). Currently, CARE is collaborating with OEOSH to develop a faculty guide for responding to disclosures from survivors of interpersonal violence. The faculty guide was developed as a resource for faculty members, instructors, and teaching assistants to enable them to respond sensitively, connect survivors with campus resources, and to understand their reporting obligations to the University. Additionally, CARE offers a two-hour training every month called CARE Connect for faculty, staff, and students on how to recognize students who have been impacted by interpersonal violence and connect them to resources on campus. Faculty and staff members interested in this training may register on the CARE website. These programs complement the recently implemented bystander intervention program designed to train students to intervene on behalf of their fellow students. The campus is also actively participating on President Napolitano’s task force on preventing and responding to sexual violence.
am proud and appreciative that our students are taking a leading role in efforts to improve safety in Isla Vista, and are seeking solutions, in the first instance, by organizing town halls in order to reach out to the broader community. Students have also created a student pledge designed to set common standards and expectations for behavior both on and off campus. Our Division of Student Affairs, working with students, has implemented a number of programs to support the efforts of the campus community. Over the spring and summer, our mandatory orientation program for incoming students, Gaucho FYI, was revised to include more information about Isla Vista, with a greater emphasis on safety, sexual violence prevention, and the UC Santa Barbara Code of Conduct. A new campaign is being launched in the fall to highlight the Code of Conduct as well as students’ rights, including expectations for behavior and information about the process for adjudicating violations. Making sure our students know what the University expects from them as community members and what they can expect if they violate the Code of Conduct is essential to effecting change in Isla Vista. We also have developed a full slate of regular weekend programming to serve as an alternative to weekend activities in Isla Vista, and we are working with students on a Good Neighbor Program.
Policing and Security
In addition to the annual $2 million we contribute to the County for policing and fire services, students will notice that we continue our increased police presence on and around campus on Thursday through Saturday nights, especially in Isla Vista. These high visibility patrols, which consist of an additional team of UC Police Department (UCPD) officers from our campus as well as from our sister campuses, have been active since August and will continue throughout the year.
Our police department is acutely aware of the sensitivities that surround increased police visibility, and is working closely with student leaders from Associated Students, the Graduate Students Association, and colleagues from the Academic Senate and Student Affairs, to reach out to students and to ensure open communication. The UCPD uses best practices for community policing and undertakes regular training in order to work cooperatively and sensitively with all students and residents in the Isla Vista community.
The UCPD also conducted its first sobriety checkpoint of the new academic year earlier this month. I have been informed that law enforcement officials expect to conduct several more during the fall quarter. As with previous checkpoints, the UCPD will notify the community in advance, and work directly with student and community groups to explain the nature of these checkpoints. The checkpoints are not intended to be ways to check IDs of Isla Vista residents, but, rather, are being established solely for the purpose of increasing safety and sobriety.
We have trimmed or removed existing vegetation across campus as recommended by a recent campus safety audit. In continuing to promote safety on campus, the University is considering creating new investments in security cameras. Security cameras can be a sensitive issue, and I want to assure our colleagues and students that we will go through a full consultation process before any additional cameras are installed. A campus committee has been established to carefully consider all the aspects of this topic.
In addition, Parking Services has recently implemented policies that restrict non-UCSB affiliates from parking on University property during weekend nights, with the goal of reducing the number of outside visitors to Isla Vista. Individuals with existing parking permits will not be affected and UCSB students are being offered annual permits for weekend parking at night that will save time and money instead of purchasing individual passes on every visit to campus.
Significant planning efforts have been underway for some time in preparation for expected Halloween activities in Isla Vista, which falls on a Friday this year. The University is working with the IV Safe Committee, the Sheriff’s Office, the City of Goleta, and local businesses on campaigns to discourage the large number of out-of-town visitors who descend on the community. In order to provide students a safe, late-night alternative to being in Isla Vista that weekend, I am supporting a Student Affairs and Associated Students plan to host several activities on campus from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., including a concert at the Events Center. We hope this will draw many UC Santa Barbara students away from Isla Vista and discourage students from inviting their friends to campus for the weekend. Most of the events will be restricted to our students with proper ID.
Drawing upon resources from our sister campuses, the UCPD expects to triple the number of UC officers in Isla Vista over Halloween weekend. These officers would be in addition to the expected increase in officers from the Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol.
Overnight visitors will be prohibited in campus housing during the weekend, and we will restrict access to overnight parking by non-UCSB affiliates. The City of Goleta has informed us that they also plan, throughout Halloween weekend, to restrict parking in the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to Isla Vista. We are also working with local businesses, including the Camino Real Marketplace, to prohibit overnight parking during the weekend in an effort to deter out-of-town visitors.
Furthermore, the University will work with students, residents of Isla Vista, and the Sheriff’s Office on a social media campaign to let visitors know the consequences of making poor decisions and to discourage them from coming to Isla Vista for Halloween.
Of course, the social media campaign and all of our plans and efforts to keep out-of-towners from coming to Isla Vista and to keep Isla Vista safe are not limited to Halloween. To be successful, we are making similar efforts every weekend. Although they may not be as intensive as our Halloween efforts, these measures, which began in August, will continue throughout the year.
Continuing to improve the living and learning environment on campus and in Isla Vista will require a sustained and coordinated effort. Because the issues involved affect almost every part of our University, I have formed a Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee on Isla Vista to be cochaired by Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall and Academic Senate Chair Kum-Kum Bhavnani. This committee will include student leaders, faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, alumni, and liaisons for off-campus stakeholders.
I will make a special announcement about this in a few days. I will continue to share updates of our progress, and I welcome your feedback and suggestions on our collaborative efforts.
Henry T. Yang