Sit with residents of Santa Catalina after a peer dies
Yubin Kim & Alexis Crisostomo
Campus Beat Reporter and co-editor
Following the death of one of their peers, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) students who live in Santa Catalina dormitories began their school year reflecting on community outreach, close friends and to mental health. The student community has since had mixed discussions regarding the university’s response to this tragic incident, many of which argue the university’s response was insufficient.
On September 26, a student died in their dormitory in Santa Catalina (FT). First responders and UCSB police arrived at the scene Sunday morning to find the student unconscious. The student’s identity and the reason for the death have not yet been released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Unlike previous security breaches, when UCSB sent campus-wide emails and SMS alerts, there was no school-wide notification regarding information about this death. student.
Instead, the university chose to isolate notifications of this death from people living in the North Tower, the FT building in which the student was found.
The Bottom Line (TBL) spoke with members of the Santa Catalina community to discuss their thoughts on the decisions made by the administration.
Like many students, sophomore Livia Zhang didn’t find out there had been a death near her dorm until she came across an article on her school’s subreddit.
Zhang was immediately shocked and concerned that it could have been her friend who also lived in the North Tower. After inquiring with them, she wondered why she had not received an email regarding the situation, even though she lived right across the street from the building.
“I think the school should have informed more people,” Zhang said, “because just emailing the north tower makes it seem like they ignore the fact that this person has may have had other friends – they’re not just confined to North The Tower. “
She said as long as the administration consulted her family and friends first for confidentiality reasons, they should have informed more people of this student’s death.
Additionally, Zhang argued that the email that was envoy sounded detached and superficial. For her, the school made this death a distant event rather than something that had just happened in her own backyard.
For some other students, the email model wasn’t necessarily callous or detached, but rather a way to avoid school-wide hysteria.
Markos Wong, a second year resident of North Tower, recalls being surprised by the news from his classmate and recalled how his community took the time to speak slowly about what happened.
He stressed that the administration could have kept notifications of this death more local and discreet to avoid causing panic. He recalled when students received a school-wide email notification of a death last year, during the pandemic, causing great alarm and confusion among his peers.
“I think the school maybe could have had a little more conversation, but I understand what they are doing [by keeping things quiet]”said Wong.
However, some do not agree. While this may be alarming, many students believe the community at large has a right to know what is happening to their classmates on and off campus.
“It’s someone from our school, like our community,” said Livia Zhang, “and it kind of feels like they want to keep quiet by just informing people in the same building.”
Both students agreed that the university should have taken extra care in better educating students about resources that could help them in times of need, both mentally and emotionally.
“I think there could be more preventive measures on the part of the school, maybe send these resources out at the start of the year,” Wong said. “I’m sure there were some students who didn’t know about these resources before it happened, so maybe I think it would be better if the school sent all these resources at the start of the year. and made sure the students were aware of it earlier.
UCSB offers many resources for people in mourning and in need of psychological counseling. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provide mental health resources, including student health, student well-being, basic needs and mental health coordination services.
According to the CAPS website, their mission is to provide “timely, culturally appropriate and effective mental health services to our diverse UCSB students,” while prioritizing “health, safety and security. well-being of our community, on and off campus. . “
For those in mourning or for loved ones of a grieving person, there are information links on the CAPS website on what language to use and how to cope. Anyone in need of some form of assistance is encouraged to call CAPS and 24/7 telephone counseling / consultations at (805) 893-4411.