It’s an interesting time to be in a university town. The Occupy movements and the UC Davis pepper spray incident have caused some students, including those at UC Santa Barbara, to think that the time is ripe for action. What that action might be, however, is still up in the air.
Chancellor Henry Yang sent a letter to UCSB students right before Thanksgiving break to address what happened at UC Davis, telling them that the university system was supportive of peaceful protest and assuring them that what happened at UC Davis wouldn’t happen again, or anything like it. That UC Davis police officer’s actions, however, have created a stir that has awakened many students to the fact that freedom of speech and the right to protest is not always guaranteed.
While the Occupy movement might not spread to every town in the nation, the ideas behind its formation resonate with many people. Everyone, or almost everyone, according to the one percent theory, is feeling that there is something wrong. Too many people don’t have jobs, enough food, etc. Even students who, by virtue of going to the UC, are a privileged group, are feeling the heat.
One idea behind the Occupy movement is to disrupt business as usual, like the protesters on the bridges in New York did recently. So far, the Occupy Isla Vista movement hasn’t reached that level of activity. There have been calls for occupying part of UCSB, the Arbor eating area to be exact, but no big plans. However, it’s something to keep your eye on.
Meanwhile, Back in the Thunderdome: While some people are thinking about ideals and hashing out the minutiae of civil disobedience, there are many who are still taking advantage of the many pleasures UCSB has to offer. Regardless of the state of our country or the economy, there is still room for some fun.
Among the greatest pleasures one can find at UCSB, though they are not cheap, are the Gaucho basketball games. I’ve always been a big fan of the women’s teams. I particularly like and follow Emilie Johnson. Sitting on the court in a front row seat where you often have to raise your hands to make sure you don’t inadvertently get clocked by a ball: priceless.
The men’s games are also great fun. I recently went to a game against San Diego State that was chock-full of excitement. The game was incredibly close the entire time. The crowd was screaming and shaking pom-poms frantically through the game. In the end, the game went into overtime, and the Gauchos lost by one point. It was disappointing, but the game itself had been pretty thrilling.
UCSB’s men’s game this week against UNLV was again incredibly close. The game went into double overtime and the Gaucho’s lost again by a couple of points. This year’s Gaucho team seems to be on fire and well worth going out to support. The season is far from over, and there is time to see the team play in the Thunderdome.
With all the things going on in Isla Vista and at UCSB, there is always something to feed the mind and the sport enthusiast.