Plus Ça Change

Regarding Cat Neushul’s Aug. 25, 2013, Eye on Isla Vista column, “Improvements Needed: UCSB May Be a LEEDer, but I.V. Stays a Trash Breeder”: I emailed the column and my comments to a few former Isla Vistans and received this reply from a late-1970s UCSB graduate:

“I have to admit I admire the campus for its green efforts. Good for them. However dumping ‘externalities’ outside the borders of their audit is typical of bureaucrats. They only measure what they control, not what they may be “responsible for” in a broader (messier) context. It would be a more accurate reflection of the campus ‘footprint’ to include I.V. in their internal environmental impact assessment.”

This analysis is remarkably similar to the assessment found in the UC Regent’s report on what brought on the civil disturbances in Isla Vista in 1970:

“If there is one thread running through all of our deliberations and recommendations, it is that the University can no longer ignore, if it ever could, the conditions under which the bulk of its students live and spend the greater part of their time while at the University. What goes on in Isla Vista is as central to the University’s life and functions as what goes on in its laboratories and lecture rooms.”

• • •

“The seeming lack of concern for ‘what goes on in Isla Vista’ as evidenced by the [1963 Long Range Development] Plan’s lack of indication of land uses, circulation patterns, and current state of building development in this area should be corrected at once. The campus obviously has a great stake in Isla Vista’s growth coupled with and complementary to the campus itself for it is the campus’s only residential neighbor. As at other campuses, intensive efforts must be made to coordinate physical planning of campus and community.”

• • •

“Again, alarming words went unheeded … . By 1968, the University almost completely surrounded Isla Vista, but the name ‘Isla Vista’ appeared in passing only a few places in the 1968 UCSB Long Range Development Plan. Perhaps symbolically, the maps included in that Report used nine colors to illustrate features of the campus and a stern gray to color Isla Vista, the airport and other ‘non-university’ areas.” (The Trow Report, 1970)

Ms. Neushul often writes from the perspective that her topics have no context, that her subject matter’s narrative began with her arrival in town.

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