There are various ways Isla Vista residents can find out information about their community, including the college-run newspapers, Daily Nexus and The Bottom Line.

Just recently, I started reading The Bottom Line, the weekly newspaper sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Launched in 2007, it provides a slightly different slant on the news, and greater depth, than some other sources.

Cat Neushul

This week, you can read about the kiss-in at Chick-fil-A, staged in protest of the company’s anti-gay policies; synthetic marijuana; the White House’s use of drones; and a rally regarding the building of a fence along the cliffs bordering Walter Capps Memorial Park.

Each of these stories was interesting and detailed. In addition, many of the articles show that the reporters have been honing their investigative skills. Some of the articles, like the one about the White House’s use of drones, provide an in-depth analysis of the topic that’s bound to provoke discussion.

As I clicked through the stories, I was surprised to find that each one spoke to something about which I felt strongly. Chick-fil-A’s corporate policy requiring all employees to adhere to the strict moral codes laid out (according to the company’s owner) in the Bible, or face termination, was eye-opening. The quotes from UCSB students were colorful and provided insight into Chick-fil-A’s other corporate policies as well. I had read about the topic before, but found myself getting upset all over again.

Another particularly interesting story was the one about synthetic marijuana. I hadn’t read any stories about these substances before. In one instance cited by The Bottom Line, a 16-year-old girl bought a bag of so-called “legal marijuana,” packaged as potpourri, at a gas station in Texas. After ingesting it, she suffered multiple strokes and almost died. A good topic to delve into, and valuable information for the UCSB student body.

Last but not least, I appreciated the story the rally at the bluffs. A UCSB organization called Life of the Party organized an event in which students made signs and headed over to Walter Capps’ Memorial Park, located along Del Playa, in order to garner support for building a fence along the bluffs. The students were asking the county to put up the necessary barriers.

This topic is bound to resonate with Isla Vista residents. It is tragic when students die from falls off the cliffs. Just this November, a 21-year-old died from a fall off of a cliff on Del Playa. And there have been others. The more attention focused on this issue, the better. While fencing alone is not the answer – and there are no plans to put up fences along every single bluff-top area – the idea that students are trying to inform other students about the risky combination of alcohol and the bluffs is a real positive. If students join with other community members to bring about change, this challenging issue will be addressed much more quickly.

I recommend clicking on The Bottom Line to see what the hot topics are in the community from the perspective of these student journalists.


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