Memorial for Last Year’s Deltopia Death

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
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People will gather Wednesday night to remember an 18-year-old Giselle Ayala, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student who died after she fell off of a cliff last spring. The memorial will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the lawn by the UCSB lagoon and university center.

The tragedy occurred the night before last spring’s Deltopia. Media reports following the incident indicated that Alaya fell from the cliff after a party that had become chaotic as people dispersed when officers arrived to break it up. A jogger found Ayala’s body the next morning near Campus Point.

Molly Morrison, UCSB student and a high school friend of Ayala, is organizing the memorial to remember Ayala and talk about safety issues surrounding the spring street party. Morrison is a member of Fence Isla Vista — a movement to improve current fencing standards along the cliffs along Del Playa Drive — and Associated Student’s Public Safety Commission. “I’ve learned it’s best to have these events for people who need it,” Morrison said adding that Ayala’s high school friends and other UCSB students will be attending.

Morrison is also hoping to get the word out about safety issues surrounding Deltopia, which is planned for Saturday. Deltopia was created via social media to replace Flotopia — UCSB’s infamous beach party — after authorities shut down the beaches years ago in response to safety and environmental concerns.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Prayers and comfort to the family of this young woman, what a horrible tragedy...

But here's a safety tip, how about we start by not drinking ourselves into oblivion? I would be willing to bet that most of the unfortunate situations that occur are as a result of impaired judgment. Perhaps not all situations are alcohol or drug-related, some people just don't use good sober common sense. Perhaps we could cut down on some of the worst problems?

4sOfN8r (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 1:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

are they serious with the "Fence Isla Vista" thing? like 4sOfN8r said maybe "Drink Less Isla Vista" would make more sense... I've walked those bluffs day and night for the past decade as a student and after graduating, now as a functioning member of the community. there's really no danger of falling off the cliff unless you're blacked out.

StockiestCastle (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 1:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As the two above posts point out, the way to avoid such deaths is to not get drunk.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 2:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's what'll happen: They'll get together, "mourn" the loss of Giselle Ayala, share stories about her life, cry, hug, then they'll go over to Woodstocks pizza for Pint Night, forget all about the tragedy & prime up for the upcoming DELTOPIA!
Sorry kids, these clowns won't learn a DAMNED thing from this loss other than to drink more & yell YOLO!
I recently went to Woodstocks, which was my favorite pizza place. Now they're into promoting this thing they call "beer culture" which roughly translates to high alcohol content IPA's & such. You think that's contribution to the problem?

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 5:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Part of me says "Hey Blah, don't be so judgemental, how do you know this will be the case", but the other part of me says "If I were to place bets, I'd say it's 1000-to-one that Blah is correct".

There ARE consequences for foolish behavior, and whenever alcohol is consumed, you can count on foolish behavior and bad decisions to prevail.

Self-preservation is largely dependent on having your wits about you, which doesn't happen when you're plastered.

If people truly see her death as a tragedy, they will address what caused it, and stop blaming it on the cliffs themselves.

As a P.S. What does it tell you about the culture involved in this that her body was discovered only by chance by a passerby the following morning?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 7:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

BillC: "What does it tell you about the culture involved in this that her body was discovered only by chance by a passerby the following morning?"

That nobody gave a crap she was missing. Her friends assumed she probably hooked up w/ some guy (or girl, let's not be sexist here) & all was good. Party on Wayne! Party on Garth!

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
April 3, 2014 at 9:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Gravity is an intoxicated person's worst enemy. I guess we could turn the entire community of IV into a padded cell so people can get falling-down drunk without fear of hurting themselves.

Just like the Cold Spring bridge suicide barrier, it's pretty sad that we feel the need to construct these things to protect people from themselves.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 3, 2014 at 10:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Gravity, Darwin, they ALWAYS win. When will the idiots figure that 1 out?

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 3:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm more than a little bit disappointed when scrolling through the comments section for this article. As a student living in IV, I feel the need to clear up several points. For starters, I would like to commend Morrison's efforts with Fence Isla Vista and to clarify that the cliffs in IV pose threat to all those that walk atop them- simply put they're highly unstable, and small sections crumble without warning due to erosion over time. Fencing the area isn't just about protecting those that are intoxicated- it's about protecting everyone.

Secondly, it's a bit disgusting that under a veil of anonymity on the internet, people have been so quick to add their unfounded, patronizing opinions to an article chronicling the mourning process Ayala's friends and family are going through in the wake of her death. I believe it is important to point out that: a. Ayala's body was found washed ashore a significant distance (think a half of a mile or more) south of where she supposedly fell off the cliff. She was found early morning before there were any people on the beach. Also keep in mind that many of our beaches are closed to any kind of public access during this time year- it was lucky someone saw her at all.
b. The "culture involved" WERE searching for their friend all day before calling the police and listing her as a missing person...I'm not entirely sure what gives the commenters on this thread the authority to declare that her friends "didn't give a crap she was missing". Her friends weren't the first to her body because they didn't immediately assume she fell off a cliff and was carried by the tide to a distance far South....and yet, you feel a social responsibility to reprimand them for it as an anonymous internet user?

Please treat Ayala's death with sensitivity. Blaming her for falling off the cliff while intoxicated, joking that "gravity" and "Darwin" were able to thin out her existence are inappropriate, crass ways to make an anonymous point. Especially considering the real details surrounding her death are so foggy- was she pushed? Did part of the cliff crumble? Is it possible she was lured down there?

Out of respect for her family and friends it's time for us to choose our words more carefully rather than spewing unwarranted and unhelpful opinions.

ivstudent (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2014 at 8:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The way I read the various news stories posted on this incident last year (namely the story written up her her local paper in northern california and unfortunately did not find all of this information in the Independent) was that Ayala had to use the bathroom, which in IV sometimes means hopping a fence and going next to the cliff. Then the cops came to break up parties RIGHT AFTER she left her friends. If Ayala had been caught using the restroom on the other side of the fence, this could have led to an arrest for urinating in public and public intoxication. I believe Ayala saw the cops, got scared of being arrested and this was a primary factor in why she fell off the cliff.

So I would be hesitant in blaming alcohol and other things like lack of fences (though I'm certainly not against safe fencing) when clearly cops policing private property without the owners consent was the most likely cause of death in this case.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2014 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Loon, is there anything you don't blame the police for? How about global warming? Your obvious hatred of the police is irrational.

And I can tell you as a landlord, the police can come over to any property I own if there is a disturbance. I can guarantee that 90%+ of the rental property owners feel that way too.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2014 at 12:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I read your post. Well written, and I respect that. But I am going to offer a prediction for you:

You are young. When you marry and have children, I hope you can re-read your post, and reflect on how naive you once were. Nothing you so very eloquently stated really matters, you see. I'm not going to counsel you here and go over it for you. I'll leave it to you for reflection.

Good luck and I hope you never experience loss like this, because all the theories, and 'whys' and 'blames' people offer or suggest after such a tragedy mean absolutely.... absolutely....nothing.

LuJohnson (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2014 at 6:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hi there
first of all, seeing that the students in Isla Vista did I tribute to Giselle in the first place is amazing in and of itself. I am sure her family would appreciate that and everyone who knew and loved her very much does as well.

I just wanted to add a short but necessary comment...I am only 20 years old and experiencing this awful event happen first hand was one of the worst days of my life. It was my first year at Deltopia and living in IV and our beautiful friend Giselle was staying in the comfort of my home. Do I wish every single second of every single day that I could go back and stop her from doing whatever she was doing in the quick seconds it takes for someone to fall off of a cliff? Of course. She was one of 16 guests and a part of me will always feel guilty for not watching her more closely. Alcohol or not, it could have happened to anyone. We spent the entire next day looking for her, our friends made posters to take to the DJ's, and spent a couple hour in the Police Station filing a missing persons report. There were so many people in IV that night, loosing track of one person happens way to often and easily. I miss her beautiful face every day and I wish nothing more than to at least know exactly what happened. But what i am trying to get at is, you weren't there. You don't know the whole story. Do not be so quick to judge. Be kind and keep a warm heart, because everyone has a story.

lyssylou (anonymous profile)
April 7, 2014 at 12:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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