An innovative tenant program that rewarded students for their grades and community service through reduced rents has been ended by Isla Vista landlord St. George and Associates.
Called the Ambassador Program, students could reduce their rent if they maintained a 3.0 GPA and participated in four Isla Vista community events. The discount could reach 20 percent per year.
But complaints by the Associated Students Legal Resource Center about what activities were being credited for community service. With the threat of a lawsuit, Ed St.George said he was ending the program and it would be converted to a strict scholarship program with specific events required to receive the scholarships.
St. George told the Daily Nexus it “broke my heart” that the program was ending. Students and their attorneys said St. George constantly changed the requirements for community service making it hard to meet the goals.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department plans to crack down on Isla Vista residents who block sidewalks with their cars. The enforcement action comes as the parking situation in Isla Vista is the worst in years, according to long time residents.
The enforcement coincides with the expansion of sidewalk installation in Isla Vista, funded by both the county of Santa Barbara and UC Santa Barbara.
One of the oldest fraternities at UC Santa Barbara – founded in 1966- with one of the largest alumni bases was shut down February 24, 2015. Phi Sigma Kappa had been on suspension since January due to unsafe new member education practices creating a dangerous environment.
The fraternity of 110 members is currently under investigation by the University as a result of allegations of hazing and misconduct. Phi Sigma Kappa’s history of violations began when it was closed for the first time in 1990 and wasn’t reopened until 2006.
According to Carl Provenzano, Inter-Fraternity president, the closure was an agreement between the University, alumni and the national organization.
Three months ago another UC Santa Barbara fraternity was closed down. Beta Theta Pi was terminated due to alcohol hazing of two members that were sent to the hospital. Beta Theta Pi fraternity had been in and out of trouble since 2009 and had a suspension status since January 2014. Prior to the present academic year, the last fraternity to close was Sigma Alpha Epsilon two years ago.
Daryl Lu, president of Signet Housing Corporation which owns Isla Vista property, has agreed to allow the undergraduate students to remain living in the Phi Sigma Kappa house until the end of the academic year, as long as they satisfy lease obligations and conduct themselves appropriately.
An Associated Students survey of students who live in Isla Vista over the last year shows that safety is an issue with more than half the respondents.
Students also said that the main resource they want is “fresh/healthy food choices” in Isla Vista. The biggest housing concern is affordability of apartments and the biggest service they want is “sexual assault prevention.”
More than 3,000 residents of Isla Vista, including SBCC students and long time residents, responded to the survey. What they indicated they liked most about Isla Vista is its sense of community and its proximity to the beach and campus. What they like least is the trash on the streets and the party scene that includes an unsafe feeling. Their top priority is more lighting along with a general community “clean up.”
Respondents also said they feel least safe during the unsanctioned Deltopia event.
The study is the first step in the Associated Students leadership developing a strategic plan for involvement in Isla Vista. An estimated $5 million has been spent by the A.S. in Isla Vista over the last decade.
Assembly member Das Williams, ’05, has sent his AB3 legislation to the Local Government Committee of the state Assembly in hopes of establishing a Community Service District in Isla Vista.
The legislation has already run into opposition from owners of Isla Vista rental property and some small special district members of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). Under state law LAFCO is the agency responsible for establishing special districts.
But over the past 40 years Santa Barbara’s LAFCO has opposed self-government mechanisms for Isla Vista and it is only allowed to create special districts with five-member elected boards.
Williams is calling for a hybrid board of elected and appointed members, the power to levy utility users taxes and provide a wide range of services, from parking enforcement to funding a community center. More than 20 community meetings have been held to debate self government in Isla Vista.
Members of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol will soon be sporting body cameras, just in time for the annual Del- topia unsanctioned Isla Vista bacchanalia.
The cameras are part of a test program by the Sheriff’s Department to see if they should be deployed to all sworn officers in the department. The cameras cost between $300-$550 each. Funding for total deployment has not been obtained, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Much to the chagrin of UC Santa Barbara officials, the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) is providing larger buses to make it easier for Santa Barbara City College students to commute from Isla Vista to the SBCC campus.
The issue of SBCC students living in Isla Vista has become a source of contention since one of their dropouts, Elliot Roger, went on a stabbing and shooting spree that killed six UCSB students. SBCC is unable to determine how many of their students live in Isla Vista and can only provide very limited services to them.
The new “articulated” buses will have room for 40 more passengers per bus on the direct Isla Vista to SBCC route.
A permanent garden and sculpture to memorialize the six UC Santa Barbara students murdered last May is taking shape in Isla Vista’s People’s Park.
Under the direction of the Isla Vista Parks & Recreation District and with the support of the non-profit Isla Vista Love group, construction on the Memorial Garden has begun. It is expected to be completed by May 2 when a community planting is scheduled for the site. The official dedication of the garden and sculptures is planned for May 16.
Project IV Love is spearheading the fundraising for the Garden and is led by alumnus Jordan Killebrew, ’10. He designed a tank top with the logo IV Love and is selling it online with all sales going to the Garden fund. A major supporter has been the Woodstock Pizza franchise in Isla Vista which has been donating proceeds from special sales nights.
The Garden will consist of native plants that attract birds and butterflies to the area. There will be six benches, one for each victim, that are being designed by UC Santa Barbara art students under the direction of art professor Kim Yasuda. The benches will each carry a design and inscription inspired by the members of the victims’ families.
Both IV Love and the Isla Vista Parks & Recreation District are seeking donations to cover the more than $25,000 needed to complete the garden and benches.
On the UC Santa Barbara campus a special remembrance committee made up of faculty, students and staff has been meeting to plan an event to commemorate the students’ lives. Details and the date of that event have not been finalized.
Among those contributing to the Memorial Garden effort was Stoneyard, a garden boulder provider that provided boulders at deep discounts for the memorial. Plants will be provided by the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity. For more information on making a donation go to the Isla Vista Parks & Recreation web site.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has finally released its comprehensive report on the shooting and stabbing rampage of Santa Barbara City College dropout Elliot Roger. The 64-page report, which is available at the Sheriff’s web site, chronicles the minute by minute actions of Roger as he killed six UCSB students and injured 14 others.
The report found that Roger acted alone and probably would have caused more mayhem had there not been Sheriff’s deputies and UCSB police on foot patrol at the time of the shootings. The eight-minute rampage ended when a sheriff’s deputy shot Roger in the leg as he drove through Isla Vista and when Roger crashed his new BMW, he took his own life with one gunshot to the head.
The report details Roger’s long history of mental illness. He purchased his guns from a Goleta gun store, an Oxnard gun dealer and a Burbank gun dealer. He started planning for the events in 2012 with his first gun purchases, the report said.