Despite the University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) recent efforts to steer clear of its ‘party school’ moniker, its annual street party known as ‘Deltopia’ remains a huge attraction for party animals everywhere.
This year, Deltopia took place on April 6 as UCSB students kicked off the first weekend of the last quarter of the academic school year. The event also saw a significant increase in security measures, such as noise ordinances and officer set-ups on many street corners.
A frequent talking point for UCSB and the Isla Vista community, the increased security measures surrounding this year’s event left a lot of community members with conflicting views on the way Deltopia has recently been handled.
Jose Arana, a fifth-year UCSB student, attended his fifth and final Deltopia. As a frequent partygoer, he said this year’s increased security measures took away from the enjoyment of the event.
“All this increase in security and stuff is killing what used to make this place so special,” Arana told The College Post. “The balance between academics and the party scene used to be perfect, and now it’s skewed.”
Deltopia, also known as Floatopia up until 2010, has been a staple for the UCSB and Isla Vista scene since it was first created in 2004. However, due to violent incidents at the event in 2014 where dozens of people were arrested, the event has now become heavily policed.
Katya Armistead, the assistant vice chancellor and dean of student life at UCSB, said the ‘drastic’ changes in security surrounding Deltopia became necessary after 2014.
“After we had the tumultuous 2014 Deltopia where the sheriff’s department used tear gas and rubber bullets, students and I worked on creating alternative events for students,” Armistead told The College Post.
Although the heightened security measures surrounding the event have been a controversial topic in the UCSB and Isla Vista community, from an administrative perspective, Armistead said these efforts at creating more of a balance between the academic and party scenes at UCSB have made a degree from the institution more valuable.
“The value of the UCSB degree has increased as we have become less of a party school and well known for our academic accomplishments,” Armistead said.
Justin Schroder has been a police officer in Santa Barbara for 13 years and has worked in Isla Vista for two years. When asked about the increase in police activity during Deltopia, Schroder said that county supervisors are in charge of deciding how much police should be in the area.
“The main job is public safety,” Schroder told The College Post, regarding the heightened police presence at Deltopia this year. “The people and public need to be safe.”
While some UCSB students feel that it is unfair to restrict a weekend full of partying, the administration and police have countered, claiming that these restrictions are in place so that UCSB students can have as much fun as possible without being put in any physical danger.
Looking ahead, Schroder said that every year, the extent of police activity is evaluated to see how much police will be needed for the following year. Despite the security measures put in place, according to a news report from KEYT, this year’s Deltopia led to 94 citations, the highest total since 2015. 38 arrests were also made; more than in 2018.