Grading Isla Vista

Relationships, the Scene, and the Politics Rated from A to Fail

Sure, we have it relatively easy here in I.V. It’s a beautiful, bustling community where we get to live and learn in relative peace and freedom. We’re pretty damn lucky, to say the least. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a fairly large laundry list of little things that make daily life that much harder. So, in the spirit of the Daily Nexus‘s “Turds and Tulips,” the recently published roundup of the quarter’s most anger-inducing and applaud-worthy people, places, and things, I’m going to share my personal feelings on the quarter’s best and worst moments. In the spirit of opening up a la those weird new Kleenex commercials where people inexplicably break down in public places, I’m going to invite everyone to post their positive and negative highlights of the quarter right here in my column’s comments section. Like I always say, there’s a reason the Indy bigwigs bother including it. And, since finals are coming faster than a horny freshman boy after a few too many beers, I’m going to get into the spirit of the season with a little grading system of my very own. God, I hope I pass.

The quarter brought about the of end some friendships-including the death of a truly great old friend, the loss of a few people to the depths of the I.V. party scene where even I don’t dare to go, and the loss of a few more to that bane of friendships everywhere, the serious relationship. On the plus side, the quarter brought some really great new relationships into my life-including a new best friend who shares my status as a self-proclaimed culture junkie and my jeans size, not to mention the fact that he has single-handedly managed to take my music collection from merely eclectic to totally excellent.

In fact, winter was really a time of oh-so-trite new beginnings, with the aforementioned new bestie and a new dating buddy infusing my otherwise bland winter quarter with some much-needed fun. Sure, the new boy doesn’t exactly get an A all the time, but he is a solid B+. Overall, I guess I’d have to give my personal relationships an A- for the quarter. Not bad, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

In a more broadly applicable sense, it was quite the quarter for interpersonal issues throughout I.V. and S.B as well. Stories about various rape cases dominated the headlines in local papers, proving that the party scene here is never as safe as it seems. The community came together to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Goleta Postal Distribution Center shootings, proving that tragedy sometimes brings out the best in a small burgh like our own.

The News-Press continued what seems to be an inevitable implosion, proving that what a lot of people had been predicting for years was right on.

And UCSB’s Arts & Lectures staff proved that they must be getting in bed with the right people, literally or figuratively speaking, as they scored appearances from Yo-Yo Ma, Harry Shearer, Itzhak Perlman, Garrison Keillor, and Los Lobos, to name a few. Overall, I’d have to give interpersonal relations in and around I.V. a C+. It’s well on its way to A territory, but there’s still a lot to prove first.

After years of an unofficial detente, the tenuous peace between Associated Students and the Daily Nexus was severed early on in the quarter, with a series of AS attacks on the Nexus’s editorial and business policies.

Anyone who has read my column knows where my loyalties lie, so suffice it to say that what would have been a failing grade for AS – whose meritless attempts to interfere with the Nexus’s funding and free press rights totally obscured the merits of any constructive criticisms they may have had for the paper – was saved by the skill of AS Program Board, the folks who work tirelessly to guarantee that UCSB has an amazing and affordable arts and entertainment scene. Plus, they’re bringing The Killers here in April.

It’s almost enough to make up for the fact that AS recently allocated a whole lot of the students’ hard-earned money to purchase computers for the staffers at the new AS-run newspaper. Rumor has it that each staffer is getting a computer of their very own.

It’s a good thing that the Board of Supervisors hasn’t done much about that Halloween Committee they formed back in November, because there’s only so much ridiculousness I.V. residents should be forced to take. AS may not work well with others, but they did do some good this quarter, if only in making sure that budget-conscious students still got access to all the music and movies they could cram into their busy schedules. C+.

On the plus side, the UC Chancellors just announced that they are going to make a collective and concerted effort to make UC campuses more environmentally friendly. The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District is working to make life a little easier for I.V.’s homeless and opening up local dialogues about the issue (see the Nexus‘ article here for more information.

And, although the I.V. Master Plan is still in the just-being-debated stage, at least the bigwigs that be are opening up the process for public comment again. Overall, the various bodies entrusted or elected to the task of governing UCSB students and I.V. residents may not be doing everything we want them to – like making the on-campus bathrooms less likely to induce vomiting upon entrance and more like places you might actually want to pee; adding or fixing streetlights, sidewalks, and such to make the aforementioned I.V. party scene a little safer, rather than just booting big events like the All Sorority Volleyball Tournament out of I.V. in the name of public safety, to name a few – but at least they’re doing something. A for effort, B for actions.

So, that’s the wrap-up. Winter quarter’s relationships, community affairs, and government actions in 2,000 words or less. It may not have been a perfect quarter, but it wasn’t all bad either. And, if the sunshine and singing birds outside my bedroom window are any indication, spring is almost here anyway – thank god. Nothing makes a girl long for sundress-ready sunshine quite like the receipt of winter quarter grades.


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