UCSB Foundation Advisory Committee Offers Isla Vista Recommendations

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The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Foundation Board of Trustees created the Advisory Committee on Isla Vista Strategies to study the issues facing the Isla Vista community. Located immediately west of the university, Isla Vista has a population of over 23,000 people, but it is not part of any surrounding city and therefore suffers from a relative lack of urban governance. The County of Santa Barbara provides basic public services in the community, and a large number of residents are students at UCSB and Santa Barbara City College.

Operating independently from the university, the advisory committee studied the relationship between the Isla Vista community, the school, and the greater Santa Barbara community. The committee created a report that contains a series of short- and long-term recommendations to improve security and overall quality of life for UCSB students and other Isla Vista residents.

The recommendations took into account key stakeholders’ opinions, which were collected through more than 125 meetings involving representatives from faculty, administrators, student groups, the City of Goleta, the Country of Santa Barbara, and Isla Vista residents and business owners. The committee also received input from four independent consulting firms. Overall, the report focuses on five central areas: governance, support services, physical environment, communications, and safety.

To promote self-governance, the Advisory Committee recommended the creation of a legislated community services and municipal improvement district that would have authority over parks, cultural facilities, roads, infrastructure, and security. In terms of support services, the committee advocated for the establishment of a community center that would have programs appealing to the diverse residents of the area. Looking at the issues of substandard housing conditions and over-occupancy, the committee outlined public and private programs to address these problems and create a more diverse community, especially in regards to age. The committee also stressed the need for more services and amenities to create a more viable working community.

Above all, the committee emphasized the need for increased safety through better community policing and the implementation of better crime data technology. The committee also suggested the creation of a restorative justice court specifically for Isla Vista matters, as well as the appointment of a dedicated deputy district attorney.

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