Letters to the Editor  Winter 2011
Alumni Association board

More Credit Due to Chalberg

AS A FORMER MEMBER of the UCSB AA Board of Directors (under my earlier name of Bob Wiener), I was at first pleased to see the history that unfolded starting on Page 14 of the latest Coastlines.

Then, it struck me: Where's any mention of "Chally" Chalberg?
Is he again getting short shrift from the school?

It surely does seem that way, which means that what was printed in "Milestones" just two years ago, as meager as it was, has diminished even more. That piece is shown here: Elmer L. "Chally" Chalberg died May 2, 2008. Chalberg served as the first Alumni Counselor to the University of California - Santa Barbara College Alumni Association from 1954 to 1960. He was instrumental in recruiting the first board of directors, who set up the constitution and bylaws, and began some Association programs, which persist to this day.

The Association did not start, in other words, with Dale Lauderdale in 1965, and I have a feeling that lots of other alumni consider themselves slighted by the history. Chally deserves so much more credit than UCSB has ever seen fit to award him. He was a great and good man.

With deep frustration,
Robert M. Wakefield, '57

Caption: When the University California Santa Barabara College moved to Goleta in 1954, Director of Placement E. L. "Chally" Chalberg (at right, standing) oversaw a revitalization of alumni activities. Among the board members he recruited to reorganize the alumni association were (from left, seated) June Koenig Brouhard '54, Neil Goedhard '49, Joe Costantino '53, and Priscilla Simms '55; and (standing ) Richard Dietz '54 and Ted Knudson '51, pictured at a January 1960 meeting.

Coastlines magazine cover about the Isla Vista riots

Heady Times in Isla Vista

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH EMERITUS Ed Loomis wrote a small book immediately after the event, called "Of Bank Burning," which is pretty accurate in its recounting of events. I was teaching and in the Ph.D. program in English myself at the time, and my wife was an undergraduate English major at the university. I was also standing in that crowd outside the admin building when it was surrounded by police officers, who had put masking tape over their badge numbers. We broke through their lines by simply going under one of the walkways in a subterranean passageway!

There were that year three separate sets of disturbances, and during the second one, along with other faculty members, I helped protect the temporary bank, but a student putting out a fire on the porch there was shot and killed by a deputy sheriff. During the third series of riots, in June, I was among many in my building arrested, but charges were later dropped for lack of evidence. Those were heady times indeed, and when then-Gov. Reagan sent in the National Guard, most of us living in Isla Vista who didn't already oppose the war in Vietnam changed our minds.

Dennis Green, '64, M.A. '66

Police Played a Role

WHAT WE NEED TO ALWAYS REMEMBER about the Isla Vista riots and the burning of the bank is that it was also a police riot. Various law enforcement agencies, most notoriously the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, trampled our civil rights with gleeful abandon. This had the effect of radicalizing even me to some extent, a middle- class white kid from suburban Orange County.

I admire police officers a lot, but sometimes when I deal with them in everyday life, I feel like I'm in that scene from "The Big Chill," where the dope-smokin' long-hairs who decided to become members of their community have a very different relationship with law enforcement than the visiting hippies!

Years after the Isla Vista riots, I had the opportunity to work on something totally different with a sergeant in the L.A. County Sheriff's Department who had been a commander of the deputies during the riots. It was strange how we both had come to the same conclusion . . . how very fragile civilization can be and how unfortunate were the events surrounding the burning of the bank.

Erik Disen, '72
Coppell, Texas

Burning an Anti-War Symbol

WHILE I ENJOYED the "From the Ashes" article by Taylor Haggerty and her attempt of reopening a "cold case file," I found a major flaw, if not glaring misconception that she conveyed as fact and probably somewhat promoted by Dr. Flacks. Haggerty stated that the "burning" was more due to "the police (which should have read sheriff's) presence" and frequent breaches of appropriate conduct, is just plain not true. While I can speak directly to the sheriff's overreaction, as I was illegally arrested at the GM/Delco demonstration (but pleaded "no lo" when I saw my senior citizen jury), but we "Vets for Peace," having been there to "police the student demonstrators," were targeted by the sheriffs to be eliminated as a semblance of credibility for the anti-war movement. But this was only ancillary to the point that the bank burned as a symbol of the war itself. The sheriffs, the B of A, the Union 76 gas station and the Signal gas station were all but symbols of the national corporate profiteers that continually ripped off the students and perpetuated the profits made by Corporate America on the war itself. The burning of the Bank of America was only a slight "payback." It has to be remembered that the focus of 99.9 percent of the demonstrators and its perceived material violence was the war in Viet Nam, as everything else was peripheral, including Dr. Flacks' attempt to put a more "ivory tower," sociological spin on "The Burning."

Steven Schlah, History and Poli-Sci, '76
Co-coordinator, Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, Tri-Counties Chapter, '70-'73
Intake Counselor, Viet Nam Vets, Santa Barbara of the Santa Barbara EDD, '75
Co-founder, Viet Nam Veterans Clubs, SBCC '71-'73, UCSB '73-'76
Manager, Jobs for Veterans Program, National Alliance of Business, Santa Barbara Metro, '76-'81
Participant to Dr. Walter Capps
Symposium on Viet Nam Veterans, '76 (Dr. Richard Flacks was also a participant)
Consultant to Dr. Walter Capps on his the formulation of his Viet Nam class, '76

Kevin Moran Remembered

PLEASE LET THE AUTHORS of the ("From the Ashes") article (Taylor Haggerty and Greg Desilet) know that the Gaucho Lightweight Women's Rowing Team won the 1987 Pacific Coast Rowing Championships in a racing shell named after UCSB Rowing alum Kevin Moran. We were given the opportunity to race the championship in a new boat but choose to stay in the "Moran" which had given us an 11-1 season in '86-'87 for the big race in May. Kevin Moran was as remembered for his contributions to Gaucho rowing in the late '80s as he was for the circumstances surrounding his death, and we were very proud to celebrate our win in his honor.

Katy Bonnin, '90
UCSB (Women's) Rowing Alum
Dustan Bonnin, '91
UCSB (Men's) Rowing Alum
Belmont, Mass.

Check poster

Burned Bank Poster Was Classic

I AM QUITE SURPRISED that your article regarding this event in the latest issue of Coastlines did not include a picture of what has to be one of the icons of the event - even the era - the wonderful "Bank of Amerika" faux check poster. It appears in the 1970 yearbook.

I have the original on my wall, because I knew the creators! Also, I feel Professor Flack's closing, "l would take any story about what happened with a grain of salt," a bit disingenuous. It was real to those who were there on so many levels.

Kathryn Karrer, '70

There Was More Upheaval

FOR AN EVENT like the burning of the bank, there was little real information about what happened when I transferred to UCSB in 1975 so I was very interested in the cover article in the most recent Coastlines. I enjoyed the article but I do have a couple of comments I would like to add. One regards the statement that the cozy little town was changed forever by the event. After my first year at UCSB, I lived on Del Playa for three years and it seemed to me still a pretty cozy town (other than the fact things tended to disappear if they were not nailed down). Later, I used to make the comment that you practically had to shoot someone to really get into trouble in IV. I think the kid glove treatment us students got at the time was a result of the hostilities between the police and students having been resolved (in the students favor from what I experienced) by 1975. Another thing that was not mentioned in the article was the anger toward the rental companies. I heard their offices were pelted with rocks before students got to the bank. Recalling the condition of our Del Playa rental when we first walked into it, I can certainly understand where they were coming from. Finally, the article contends that there was no real reason behind the act to burn the bank. Well, late one night in an Isla Vista apartment, after many beers, there was a group of us talking, including one who had been a student during 1970. He claimed he was not there but he seemed to have a lot of firsthand knowledge of the events surrounding the bank. His assertion was that after students were in the bank, someone realized that the bank had security cameras. The governor had stated that any students caught rioting would be expelled from the UC system. The students in the bank, realizing that they could not get to the film and thus could all get expelled, torched the bank to cover their tracks. So I think there was a motive and, considering who the person was telling the story, I tended to believe him. Keep the good articles coming.

Richard Cobble, '79

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