The Troublemakers of Deltopia


Street-view of Isla Vista on Deltopia | Photo Credit: Mike Eliason of Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Spring, an equal settlement between winter and summer, is when the wildest parties make its appearance. Even after spring break, the fun has yet to end. As the “syllabus” week rapidly approaches the weekends, marked on everyone’s calendar is one of the biggest events at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), Deltopia. Attracting partygoers from out-of-town to Isla Vista, the wild weekend consists of the scorching sun, sweat-drenched and sun-kissed skin babes, jam-packed streets, excessive alcohol consumption, 120-watts sound system, and reckless partying. From sunrise to sunset, Deltopia’s attendees are always in for unexpected surprises.

Respectively, the unofficial event, Deltopia, is not in any way endorsed by UCSB, but instead created by UCSB’s students. If  so, how is it a part of UCSB’s collective memory? Dee Britton’s blog post suggests that collective memory  is “the stories, artifacts, food and drink, symbols, traditions, images, and music that form the ties that bind members together.” Thus, by pinpointing the artifacts of Deltopia, it shows that Deltopia is a part of UCSB’s identity.

The question that everyone is wondering: Why is Deltopia not endorsed by UCSB? With a history of trouble, every year Deltopia indulges in potential risks and threats to the community, environment, and attendee’s health and safety. Beyond all the excitement, when Deltopia takes on the dark side, no one intends to take responsibility, especially, UCSB. The blame, when passed from one person to another, is the debatable aftermath that Deltopia puts on UCSB’s reputation.

The infamous riot that broke loose on April 5th, 2014 is an example of the blame game. Illustrated as a bloodshed, the  outbreak consisted of rebellious attendees, police brutality, shattered glasses, and tear gas, which resulted in many injuries and arrests. UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang informs:

Data from the UCSB Police Department and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office confirm that out of 412 arrests and citations, 376, or 91 percent, were not affiliated with UCSB. It concerns all of us that our outstanding and dedicated students, and our great university, are being defined by the actions of people who do not share our commitment to the community in which we enjoy living, studying, working, and raising our families.

Based on these allegations, the partygoers from out-of-town are the source of the problems. Accordingly, UCSB’s students are innocent and hold no responsibilities for the riot. However, with UCSB’s reputation as a prestigious school deteriorating into a top-ranked party school, could that be the incentive behind all the finger-pointing?


Young Male Attacked by Police Force | Photo Credit: UCSB Graduate, Peter Vandenbelt


Bloody Aftermath of Riot | Photo Credit: Journalist of Liberty Voice, Sarah Wright

According to Isla Vista Foot Patrol FAQs, “UCSB students account for about 60% of I.V.’s population and 35% of its crime.” In other words, with over half of Isla Vista ruled by UCSB’s students and an alarmingly high crime rate committed on a daily basis, shows that UCSB’s students are not as innocent as portrayed. Hence, they must have also played a not-so-innocent role in the riot.

For instance, consider the invitation UCSB’s students give to friends from out-of-town to attend Deltopia. With everything a click away, social media has grown into an easy way to network causing Deltopia to spread like wildfire. Filled with thirst from crazy stories about Deltopia, partygoers from out-of-town flocks into Isla Vista seeking a real life remake of a Project X-styled party. As a result, the attendance rate increased. According to the Daily Nexus, Deltopia 2014 “drew in crowds numbering 20,000 to 25,000,” which is nearly 10,000 more than the year prior. Although UCSB’s students were not a part of the 91 percent of the arrests and citations given, they are to blame for inviting these troublemakers.

Passed back and forth like a game of Hot Potato, who are the real troublemakers of Deltopia? By pinpointing articles, or artifacts, of the riot, it shows that partygoers from out-of-town and UCSB’s students are both troublemakers of Deltopia. Britton explains the blame game between the two groups when she poses the idea that “leaders of a group reconstructs a past rationalization to choose which events are remembered, those that are eliminated and rearrange to conform to the social narrative.” Likewise, only through ending the blame game and accepting responsibilities can the two groups come together as a community and build a strong foundation that allows for Deltopia to become a part of UCSB’s identity. Even so, the two groups should  find a resolution that shapes Deltopia into an ideal event to conform with the social narrative.



2 thoughts on “The Troublemakers of Deltopia

  1. Definitely. You’re pointing to particular artifacts that “externalize” the collective memory of the event (a “social narrative”–as Britton describes it in the online article from the Course Reader). The “blame game” is a constructed narrative that shapes and also reflects the way the event is remembered collectively. What’s at stake here–the identity of the group doing the remembering–is clear.


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