By Nadia Ismail
September 23, 2010
In 1970, a wave of civil unrest turned the beachside town of Isla
Vista on its head. As the unpopular Vietnam War raged overseas, the
student ghetto took on a personality of its own that rivaled the
counterculture and antiwar movements a few hundred miles north in
Berkeley. The students of I.V. rioted, protested and famously burnt
down a local Bank of America, a symbol of the war machine and the
capitalist system that stood to benefit from it.
The night after the infamous incident, the California governor
declared a state of emergency and Isla Vista was set on a curfew, a
tame peacekeeping tool compared to the National Guard and Los Angeles
County S.W.A.T. teams that were later called in to maintain order.
Isla Vista residents of the 1970s were not afraid of their collective
voice in challenging public policy and demanding representation. The
history of the generations who roamed Del Playa before us is an
important one to remember as we search for our own legacy in
inhabiting the unique enclave of Isla Vista.
Forty years after the I.V. riots, critics, historians and
sociologists have labeled our own generation apathetic and
apolitical: a "rebel without a cause" band of mindless droids who
value Adam Lambert more than John Adams and rely on celebrity gossip
sites for their daily dose of current events. The purpose of the
opinion page is to steer you back into the sphere of political and
social issues that matter on both an individual and communal level.
This year, the opinion section has combined old and new columns to
hopefully provide you with a better page and a more fertile platform
for your own beliefs. Adam Bloom, a former Gaucho and producer in New
York City, will offer guidance on how to prepare for the larger world
outside UCSB with his weekly alumnus advice column.
David Urzua and Ben Parish will play the liberal and conservative
sides respectively in order to provide you with balanced opinions on
the most timely and prominent political subjects. Haley Snyder will
be our sex columnist, taking the Wednesday hump to new levels of
pleasure and provocation. IVPD Sgt. Mark Signa will continue to
answer your inquiries about law enforcement in I.V. with his Question
Authority column, while CHO program coordinator, Maya Salmon, will
explore the ups and downs of the I.V. housing market. Finally, Claire
Wei will usher back the Friday fashion column to add a bit of style
and grace to the Nexus' opinion section.
The opinion page undoubtedly has a strong team of columnists working
to inform and inspire you as a reader. However, your participation is
not only invited in crafting the new opinion section, its imperative.
As illustrated by the generations of Gauchos who preceded us, an
active voice in the community is central to enacting profound thought
and bold change. The opinion page is meant to be an intelligent
tapestry of divergent opinions, mixing that of student and professor,
conservative and liberal, atheist and devout. It's meant to be a
dialogue, wherein the process of argumentation is as important as the
product of truth and everyone's opinions can be taken into account equally.
Perhaps we've never burned down a bank or instigated a state of
emergency. But, that's not to say our generation hasn't found its
voice. This year, I invite you to use yours through the open platform
of the Nexus' opinion page.
Nadia Ismail is the Opinion editor for the 2010-11 academic year.