This weekend, many USC students will flock to the neighborhood surrounding the University of California, Santa Barbara, a place known for its Halloween festivities.
Two years ago, UCSB officials issued a letter discouraging outside students from making the drive to Santa Barbara, mainly because of the mess and havoc that outsiders wreak on the community during Halloween weekend.
This year, UCSB officials are again discouraging students from coming for several reasons.
“It’s as if a bunch of strangers came into your house and were heavily involved in leaving it in disarray and trashing it,” said Michael Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UCSB. “And then leaving it with no responsibility for that.”
Most of the Halloween activities occur in the jurisdiction of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, a substation for the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s department.
The patrol will be involved in a strict enforcement policy this weekend, with measures including a stringent noise ordinance and a no-warnings policy — officers will immediately cite and arrest someone if they see a violation. Additionally, officers will tow any cars that are illegally parked.
“What we’ve tried to do is sort of prepare people for what they might experience if they come here,” Young said.
USC has no policy preventing students from going to UCSB, but Michael L. Jackson, Vice President for Student Affairs at USC, said he prefers students stay closer to home this Halloween.
Jackson encouraged a number of safety precautions for those students that choose to travel to Santa Barbara this weekend.
“Do not drink and drive, look out for one another, don’t accept drinks from strangers and if you are too tired after partying, rent a hotel room and drive back the next day,” Jackson said.
Though both administrations said they don’t support students traveling to Santa Barbara, many students said Halloween at UCSB is an unforgettable event.
Alison Kaprielian, a sophomore majoring in business administration, made the trek to Santa Barbara last year and saw the mess the morning after Halloween.
“I understand [UCSB’s concerns], but at the same time it’s a huge part of the culture of Santa Barbara,” Kaprielian said. “It’s also fun for the people from Northern California and Southern California to kind of meet halfway and celebrate Halloween.”
It is not just USC students who travel to Santa Barbara; the tradition applies to people all across California.
“People come all the way from Arizona, San Diego, Cal Poly,” said Tyler Garvin, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering. “Santa Barbara is famous nationally for Halloween.”
Neither Garvin nor Kaprielian are traveling to Santa Barbara this year because of other plans.
Neither will Adam Smith, a senior majoring in business administration.
“I just went once and it was enough,” Smith said.
That being said, all three students recommend making the trip at least once during college.
Young, however, stressed the impact the mess leaves on the Santa Barbara community.
“At a time when the county government is in deficit, they’re having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to prepare for a bunch of people to come in from outside to trash the place and then leave,” Young said.
According to Young, more than 95 percent of the arrests and citations made during Halloween weekend have been to people not from the community.
“A lot of our students even are pushing in the interest to keep it local, and keep it safe,” Young said.
UCSB senior Jeffrey Tsutsuse is one of them. Tsutsuse said that during his freshman year, he invited friends to UCSB for the holiday, but after spending time taking care of drunk students from other schools, his mindset changed.
“Now I am against having people come to UCSB because I would rather have fun without having to think about where my friends are and if they would make it back OK,” Tsutsuse said.