UCSB’s Distressful “Deltopia”

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“Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.” Some words to live by when one considers how disastrous this year’s event turned out to be. The post-spring break street party, Deltopia, went downhill when a 17-year-old out-of-towner took a backpack of booze to a police officer’s head around 9 p.m, multiple stabbings were reported as inebriated spring-breakers attempted to forget the law’s presence. Rubber bullets and tear gas was used to control the crowd of over 20,000. With over 100 arrests, it would be safe to assume that Deltopia, a favored event for kids in their early-twenties and late-teens to get bat-shit drunk, turned sour.

Anyone in college who lives in California knows that Santa Barbara is the party school of the California educational system. Famous block parties and concerts on the streets of Isla Vista have led to a reputation that have police cracking down on anyone walking around with a plastic red cup.

Deltopia, usually a day event, attracts thousands every year to celebrate. Come nightfall, things went bad probably considering that the drunk were still roaming the streets without an outlet and nowhere to go. Like zombies, they roamed the streets jeering and yelling with fists in the air while nearby car alarms were going off. Unlike many protest riots where political tension or civil issues led to anger, this riot was fueled by alcohol and the illusion of safety in numbers.

The residents of Isla Vista weren’t the ones ripping stop signs out of their own streets, and for any intelligent student attending UCSB or SBCC, they probably wouldn’t want to see their favorite spring break event to come to an end. Facebook posts on the Deltopia’s event page stream comments like “fuck the outsiders,” and “thanks a lot tourists.”

With an overwhelming amount of intoxicated people flooding the streets, liquid courage was in full effect. Out-of-towners came to Santa Barbara expecting binge drinking, a place to sport their rage face and to do some healthy damage to their liver, but this time, they really embarrassed Isla Vista residents and UCSB students. According to UCSB and Santa Barbara Police Department, 376 of the 412 arrests and citations, a whopping 91 percent, were not affiliated at all with UCSB.

First off, harming a police officer is probably not the smart thing to do when expressing anger toward authority. It’s too obvious that the costs greatly outnumber the benefits. It doesn’t look too good for Isla Vista residents to have some 17-year-old kid smashing a cop’s head in response to them breaking up a party. After his attack, all hell broke loose and more arrestees had violent responses to police. The response from the police was not unjustified. Drunken kids were rioting for, to put it plainly, the right to party. They might not have been 100 percent rational about it, though.

Students are part of a grossly underrepresented community that already feels pretty duped by the public. We pay a lot of money to get an education so we can be upstanding citizens of society and get respectable jobs, supposedly. It might not be all that inappropriate to state that, “we have to fight for the right to party.” Let’s not rip signs out of the curb and throw bricks at cops next time, though.

 

Sanne Bergh is a fourth-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at sbergh@uci.edu. 

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