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Guide to the May 23, 2014 Isla Vista Memorial archive SBHC Mss 106
SBHC Mss 106  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access Restrictions
  • Use Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Other Descriptive Information

  • Title: May 23, 2014 Isla Vista Memorial archive
    Identifier/Call Number: SBHC Mss 106
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 50.0 linear feet (28 document boxes, cartons and shoeboxes, 15 flat and flat oversize boxes, 4 map-case drawers, 1 roll tube box, plus artifacts and 1 DVD)
    Date (inclusive): 2014 May 23-2015
    Abstract: The May 23, 2014 Isla Vista Memorial Archive consists mainly of condolence items left at spontaneous memorial sites, as well as items sent to the university in the wake of the incident that occurred on May 23, 2014, in which six UCSB students were killed and 14 other persons were injured. Other materials represent how the university and the community responded to the incident. There are also materials related to the first year anniversary memorial events. The series organization is by provenance including memorial sites and offices that donated materials. The bulk of the materials were received in the first few months following the incident.
    Physical Location: UC Santa Barbara Library, Special Research Collections
    Language of Materials: The collection is in English.

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    Use Restrictions

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], May 23, 2014 Isla Vista Memorial archive, SBHC Mss 106. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were gathered by Melissa Barthelemy, Anne Platoff, and Rebecca Metzger (members of the university Ad-Hoc Memorial Preservation Group) from the memorial sites, university offices, and the community, 2014-2015.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Anne M. Platoff, Katrina Chavéz, Scott Hansen, Erik Larsen, Ori Ortiz, Christina Scholze, Bruno Tomasini, Lauren Trujillo, 2015-2016.

    History

    Isla Vista is an unincorporated community that lies on the western edge of the UCSB campus. As a “census-designated place,” the population counted in the 2010 census totaled 23,096. According to that same census, 19,574 (84.8%) of Isla Vista residents are in the 18-24 age group. Census figures showed that renters occupy 97.4% of the housing units in the community. In addition to being a popular rental location for UCSB students, a large number of students from Santa Barbara City College also reside in Isla Vista.
    On the evening of May 23, 2014 Isla Vista was the site of a mass murder. The 9-11 system logged the first call about the incident at 9:27 pm reporting “shots fired” in Isla Vista. Eight minutes later, the perpetrator committed suicide. As the investigation proceeded we learned more about the sequence of events. Earlier during the day of May 23, Elliot Rodger had ambushed and murdered his two roommates and one of their friends in his apartment with a knife. He then uploaded a “retribution” video to YouTube and emailed a 137-page manifesto to his friends and family. During his rampage he attempted to gain entry to a sorority, shot three women outside that sorority (killing two and injuring the other), and then committed multiple drive-by shootings, killing a young man at a deli. He also injured other victims by intentionally hitting them with his car. In the end, six victims died. Fourteen other persons were injured, seven from gunshot wounds and the remainder from being struck by the car.
    All six of the fatalities, as well as many of the injured, were UCSB students. George Chen (1994-2014) was 19 years old. He grew up in Ottawa, Canada and San Jose, California. George was studying computer science in the College of Engineering. Katherine “Katie” Breann Cooper (1991-2014) was 22 years old. She was from Chino Hills, California. Katie was a double-major in art history and classics. Cheng Yuan “James” Hong (1994-2014) was 20 years old. He grew up in Taipei, Taiwan and graduated from high school in San Jose, California. James was a fourth-year student in computer engineering. Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez (1993-2014) was 20 years old. He grew up on the California Central Coast and graduated from high school in San Luis Obispo, California. Chris had not yet declared his major. Weihan “David” Wang (1993-2014), was 20 years old. He was from Freemont, California. David was studying computer engineering at UCSB. Veronika Elizabeth Weiss (1995-2014) was 19 years old. She was from Westlake Village, California. Veronika was studying financial mathematics and statistics.
    The first organized memorial event was a candlelight vigil on Saturday night, May 24, 2014. Organized by students, the event began at 7:30 pm in Storke Plaza at the base of UCSB’s iconic Storke Tower. The 4,000 participants carried white candles as they walked from campus, through the Pardall pedestrian tunnel, to Isla Vista. They retraced part of the path of the previous night’s incident until they reached Anisq’Oyo’ Park. At the park the participants paid tribute to those lost in the tragedy. Friends of several of the victims addressed the crowd. At the time of the candlelight vigil, the authorities had only released the identities of three of the UCSB students killed the night before.
    The following day, on May 25, the university announced the cancellation of classes on the Tuesday after Memorial Day (May 27, 2014) so that students would have more time to process the tragedy. As part of the official Day of Mourning and Reflection, more than 20,000 students, staff, faculty, and community members gathered at Harder Stadium for the UCSB Memorial Service. Counselors from other UC campuses came to assist UCSB counselors with the difficult task of providing psychological assistance to students affected by the tragedy. The university also scheduled training sessions throughout the week to guide faculty and teaching assistants in how to work with students as they dealt with their grief.
    Spontaneous memorials began to appear in Isla Vista almost immediately after the events. In all, the police report identified 17 separate locations where the perpetrator killed his victims, fired shots, or assaulted others using his vehicle. The three primary sites for memorials were those where the deaths occurred: 1) on the lawn outside the Alpha Phi sorority house located at 840 Embarcadero del Norte, 2) on the sidewalk outside of the IV Deli Mart at 6549 Pardall Road, and 3) on the lawn outside of the Capri Apartments located at 6598 Seville Road. In addition, there was a site outside the 7-11 convenience store on Trigo Road near where several victims were injured. Numerous posters and banners appeared in Isla Vista, including a banner thanking law enforcement officers that students placed outside of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol (a station manned by deputies of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office and officers from the UCSB Police).
    After the incident, a History Ph.D. student named Melissa Barthelemy began curating the memorial sites in situ. She left chalk and blank sketch books at the sites so that community members could record their thoughts and pay tribute to those who had been lost. She also began visiting the sites on a regular basis to keep them tidy, to move flammable materials away from candles, and to place paper items in plastic sleeves to protect them from moisture. She left notes at the sites asking people not to remove materials. She also communicated with property owners to discuss the sites and to request that they contact her when they were ready to remove the memorials. In addition, she began collecting newspapers with articles about the events in Isla Vista. Melissa took photographs of the sites and of the memorial activities that she was witnessing throughout the community. Melissa contacted the UCSB Library to see if the Library would be willing to house the collection of memorial items from the sites. As a result, an Ad-Hoc Memorial Preservation Group was formed to work on the project.
    Melissa worked with various property owners to set up times to collect materials. The first site where items were collected was the Capri Apartments on June 17, 2014. The 7-11 site was also one of the early pick-up sites, with the items collected on June 21, 2014. On June 20, 2014, we learned that, after graduation, the gardeners at the Alpha Phi house had cleaned up their site and boxed all the materials. Working with the advisors for the local Alpha Phi chapter, materials were picked up from the sorority house on September 6. The last property to take down their spontaneous memorial was the Isla Vista Deli Mart. Materials from that site were collected on July 2, 2014.
    A variety of slogans and hashtags were generated as a result of the incident and community reaction to it. These are represented on many of the items in the collection. A slogan that was found at many of the memorial sites was “Rest in Paradise,” a Santa Barbara version of “Rest in Peace”. The hashtag #NotOneMore was suggested by Richard Martinez, father of one of the victims, during his speech at the campus memorial service. He asked those in attendance to contact politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to demand that “not one more” life should be lost to gun violence in America. Other slogans were a response to the perpetrator’s misogynistic statements in social media and his targeting of sorority women. Feminists reacting to the incident used the hashtag #YesAllWomen to protest unfair sexual expectations that are placed on women and contribute to a culture of violence and abuse. The hashtag was in response to men who posted #NotAllMen to argue that men should not be universally portrayed as sexist aggressors. The feminist response was meant to indicate that all women have experienced some form of harassment or sexism. Other slogans were used to build up the community in the wake of the tragedy. These included the phrases “IV Strong” and “Gaucho Strong”, which were most likely inspired by the “Boston Strong” slogan that was used as a reaction to the Boston Marathon bombing. Another UCSB-focused slogan was “We Gaucho Back”, a play on “We’ve Got Your Back.”

    Scope and Content

    The May 23, 2014 Isla Vista Memorial Archive consists mainly of condolence items left at spontaneous memorial sites, as well as items sent to the university in the wake of the incident that occurred on May 23, 2014, in which six UCSB students were killed and 14 other persons were injured. Other materials represent how the university and the community responded to the incident.
    The collection includes artifacts such as candles, stuffed animals, origami cranes and lanterns, shoes, posters, signs, sympathy cards, and other items left at memorial sites. It also includes materials generated by the university and community organizations in response to the incident. Materials were also collected from spontaneous memorials that appeared at the sites on the first-year anniversary. In addition, items related to continuing memorial activities are included.

    Arrangement

    The collection has been divided into the following series:
    Series 1. Memorial Sites. This series contains materials from spontaneous memorial sites in Isla Vista and from the Arbor Memorial Wall on campus. The bulk of materials were collected from the memorial sites in 2014, but there are also materials from spontaneous memorials related to the first-year anniversary memorial events. The series is divided into the following subseries by the location of the memorial site:
    Subseries 1.1. IV Deli Mart. Subseries 1.2. Alpha Phi Sorority. Subseries 1.3. Capri Apartments. Subseries 1.4. 7-11. Subseries 1.5. Arbor Memorial Wall. Subseries 1.6. Unknown Provenance.
    Subseries 1.1. IV Deli Mart. The IV Deli Mart is located at 6549 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. A spontaneous memorial was located on the sidewalk and near the curb outside of the store. Materials at this site focused on the victim who died at the store: Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez (1993-2014). Because of the Deli’s location on Pardall Road across from the Associated Students Pardall Center, this site also served as a focal point for memorializing all the victims. In addition, as a result of the visible gunshot holes in the windows of the store and the anti-gun speech given by Christopher’s father at the UCSB Memorial Service, this site was also characterized by signs protesting against gun violence. Items were collected from the memorial site on July 2, 2014. The spontaneous memorial from the 2015 anniversary was cleaned up before materials could be collected.
    Subseries 1.2. Alpha Phi Sorority. The Alpha Phi Sorority is located at 840 Embarcadero del Norte at the intersection with Segovia Road in Isla Vista. A spontaneous memorial covered the lawn west of the sorority. Materials at this site focused on the two victims who died outside the sorority: Katherine “Katie” Breann Cooper (1991-2014) and Veronika Elizabeth Weiss (1995-2014). Items from this site were boxed up by the gardeners and collected from the sorority house on September 6, 2014. Selected items were collected from the 2015 memorial site on June 1, 2015.
    Subseries 1.3. Capri Apartments. The Capri Apartments are located at 6598 Seville Road in Isla Vista. A spontaneous memorial was located on the lawn south and west of the entrance to the apartment complex. Materials at this site focused on the three victims who died at the complex: George Chen (1994-2014), Cheng Yuan “James” Hong (1994-2014), and Weihan “David” Wang (1993-2014). Items from this site were collected on June 17, 2014. Selected items were collected from the 2015 memorial site on May 30, 2015.
    Subseries 1.4. 7-11. A smaller memorial site was located where several victims were injured on Trigo Road by a lamppost near the entrance to the 7-11 convenience store. Because no victims died at the site, materials were more general in nature and did not focus on particular victims.
    Subseries 1.5. Arbor Memorial Wall. The Arbor Memorial Wall was a wooden structure that was painted by UCSB students. This site was located on the sidewalk between the UCSB Library and the Arbor convenience store. It served as an on-campus site for memorialization where people could leave flowers. Other visitors attached items such as notes or cards to the wooden structure. The memorial wall stayed in place on the campus for over a year, and was moved to another location on campus after the first-year anniversary of the incident.
    Subseries 1.6. Unknown Provenance. This series consists of memorial items for which the exact provenance was unclear.
    Series 2. University Offices. This series consists of materials which were obtained from different offices and departments at the university. Materials in the series include official university communications related to the tragedy, printed materials generated by different offices or departments on campus, materials related to the incident which were collected by an individual who worked in the office/department listed, or condolence items which were sent to the office/department and later donated to the collection. The series is divided by the office or department from which the Ad-Hoc Memorial Preservation Group obtained the materials. For those items that were collected by individuals, the name of the collector is included in the subseries name:
    Subseries 2.1. Office of the Chancellor. Subseries 2.2. Housing and Residential Services. Subseries 2.3. Alumni Association (George Thurlow). Subseries 2.4. Office of Student Life. Subseries 2.5. Counseling and Psychological Services. Subseries 2.6. Department of English. Subseries 2.7. Department of Global Studies. Subseries 2.8. Office of Admissions. Subseries 2.9. Henley Gate. Subseries 2.10. College of Engineering and the Sciences. Subseries 2.11. UCSB Career Services. Subseries 2.12. Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE). Subseries 2.13. Solid State Lighting and Energy Center (Yukina I. Warner). Subseries 2.14. Center for Black Studies Research. Subseries 2.15. UCSB Library.
    Series 3. Government Agencies. This series includes documents from government agencies. Materials included in this series include the official crime investigation report from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, and a video message from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to the UCSB community. The series is divided into two subseries:
    Subseries 3.1. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Subseries 3.2. Office of the Vice President of the United States.
    Series 4. Press Coverage. This series includes newspapers with articles related to the tragedy and memorialization activities. The bulk of the materials are from local newspapers such as The Daily Nexus (UCSB’s campus newspaper), the Santa Barbara News-Press, and the Santa Barbara Independent. Each box/folder includes a content list noting which pages have articles related to the incident.
    Series 5. Community. This series consists of materials from the local community near UCSB. They include items from St. Marks University Parish (Isla Vista, California) and Montecito Bank and Trust.
    Series 6. Organizations. This series includes materials from different organizations. They are divided into subseries by the organization name:
    Subseries 6.1. Project IV Love. Subseries 6.2. Everytown for Gun Safety. Subseries 6.3. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Subseries 6.4. Ad Hoc Memorial Preservation Committee.
    Subseries 6.1. Project IV Love. Project IV Love is an organization formed “to serve as a platform to garnish donations for the creation of a permanent Memorial Public Art Installation in Isla Vista, California that honors and remembers the victims who died due to the tragic event on May 23, 2014.” The organization worked with the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District to create the Isla Vista Love & Remembrance Garden located at People's Park. The garden includes six memorial benches, each designed to represent a specific victim who died in the tragedy.
    Subseries 6.2. Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown for Gun Safety is a movement of Americans fighting for common-sense reforms to reduce gun violence.” Parents of the Isla Vista incident victims have been active with the organization.
    Subseries 6.3. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms.” Parents of the Isla Vista incident victims have been active with the organization.
    Subseries 6.4. Ad Hoc Memorial Preservation Committee. The Ad Hoc Memorial Preservation Committee is a campus group that was formed to preserve materials related to the May 24, 2014 tragedy in Isla Vista.
    Series 7. Memorial Events. This series includes materials related to various memorial events related to the tragedy, both immediately following the incident in 2014 and as part of the first-year anniversary in 2015:
    Subseries 7.1. UCSB Day of Mourning and Reflection (Memorial Service). Subseries 7.2. Rising for Charleston Peace Walk & Sabbath in Isla Vista. Subseries 7.3. AB 1014 Rally. Subseries 7.4. Come Together Event, Storke Plaza. Subseries 7.5. "We Remember Them" Exhibit. Subseries 7.6. Blunite. Subseries 7.7. MMXIV Music in Memory Isla Vista. Subseries 7.8. "Real Life" Religious Group. Subseries 7.9. Chen, Hong, Wang Family Donation. Subseries 7.10. Attitudinal Healing International. Subseries 7.11. Memorial Fundraising. Subseries 7.12. Incite Insight Magazine & UCSB Grads Mobilize. Subseries 7.13. Miscellaneous Items from 2015 Memorial Events.
    Subseries 7.1. UCSB Day of Mourning and Reflection (Memorial Service). The official campus memorial service was held on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, as part of the Day of Mourning and Reflection. The event was held at Harder Stadium. Approximately 20,000 students, faculty, staff, family members, and others connected to the UCSB community attended the event.
    Subseries 7.2. Rising for Charleston Peace Walk & Sabbath in Isla Vista. This event occurred on June 28, 2015. Richard Martinez, Bob Weiss, and community members held a peace walk in Isla Vista in memory of the victims of a mass shooting that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015.
    Subseries 7.3. AB 1014 Rally. A new California law (AB 1014) took effect on January 1, 2016. It allows concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) in situations where an individual is deemed to either “be a threat” or have the “potential for threatening behavior.” After the petition is submitted, a judge will be empowered to make the call, i.e. if there are sufficient enough reasons to warrant a person’s gun and ammo to be taken away from them and the judge deems the person a threat, it will be. AB 1014 was first proposed after the shooting that took place in Isla Vista in May 2014. The shooter, in that case, had given all the right signs of being a threat, but no legal mechanism was available for anyone to take action. A rally was held in Isla Vista after passage of the bill in 2014.
    Subseries 7.4. Come Together Event, Storke Plaza. This event, organized by Associated Students and entitled “Come Together: Remember, Reconnect, and Unite,” was held in Storke Plaze on October 8, 2014. More than 5,000 students gathered at Storke Plaza to remember those lost in the May 23, 2014 tragedy and to enjoy a free concert by singer Jack Johnson, a UCSB alumnus.
    Subseries 7.5. "We Remember Them" Exhibit. This exhibit, curated by History Ph.D. student Melissa Barthelemy and created by a team of undergraduate students and recent alumni, was held in the Old Gym (Red Barn) on campus as part of the first-year anniversary memorial events. “A space for healing and reflection, this exhibition honors the acts of love and compassion that emerged in Isla Vista and on the UC Santa Barbara campus after the tragedy of May 23, 2014. Through photographs of planned and unplanned memorials, artifacts and messages left at spontaneous memorial sites, and documentation of support from around the globe, the exhibition remembers those who died and were injured, and tells the story of a community empowered by its own humanity in reacting to a collective loss.” The exhibit was initially scheduled to run from May 20 – June 20, 2015; but was extended through August 13, 2015. A three-dimensional photographic record of the exhibit can be found at http://www.805productions.com/santa_barbara/5265.
    Subseries 7.6. Blunite. Blunite is an abbreviation with a double meaning: “blue night” and “bl-unite” (with emphasis on “unite”). “It is a community effort based in Isla Vista, California to stand together for the month of May. Uniting as a community, we are ‘glowing blue’ by lighting blue LEDs throughout Isla Vista and beyond, showing unity by placing tea lights in windows, changing bulbs to blue ones, rope outlining buildings etc... Local business, campus buildings and individual households are invited to participate in illuminating the area, helping to guide our entire community to come together, heal and move forward.” Blunite was initiated by UCSB students who were participating in IV OpenLab together with Art Professor, Kim Yasuda, who brainstormed ways to bridge the connection between UCSB and Isla Vista through light. “Their ideas not only connected the campus and IV, but spread beyond the boundaries of the local community by inviting everyone to participate in a movement that envisions solidarity and a bright future. As a symbol inspired by the LED blue light invented by Nobel-winning UCSB Professor, Shuji Nakamura, Blunite IV illuminates the memories of those who were lost and injured by bringing our communities together to create something hopeful, beautiful and powerful.”
    Subseries 7.7. MMXIV Music in Memory Isla Vista. Eleven graduate composition students from UCSB’s Music Department wrote pieces in remembrance of and reaction to the Isla Vista tragedy. Their works were performed at a memorial concert on May 31, 2015, as part of the first-year memorial events.
    Subseries 7.8. "Real Life" Religious Group. This group distributed memorial materials on campus as part of the 1-year memorial events.
    Subseries 7.9. Chen, Hong, Wang Family Donation. Families of three of the victims in the May 23, 2014 Isla Vista tragedy brought materials to the “We Remember Them” exhibit.
    Subseries 7.10. Attitudinal Healing International. This group distributed memorial materials on campus as part of the first-year memorial events.
    Subseries 7.11. Memorial Fundraising. This subseries includes promotional materials related to fundraising for the IV Love and Remembrance Garden in Isla Vista.
    Subseries 7.12. Incite Insight Magazine & UCSB Grads Mobilize. These groups worked together to create a memorial booklet as part of the first-year anniversary memorial activities. “This booklet is a collection of pieces reflecting the voices of UCSB and IV communities one year following the violent events on May 23, 2014.
    Subseries 7.13. Miscellaneous Items from 2015 Memorial Events. This subseries includes miscellaneous items of unknown provenance collected during the first-year anniversary memorial events.
    Series 8. Courses. This series includes course materials and student coursework from classes related to the May 23, 2014 tragedy in Isla Vista.

    Other Descriptive Information

    The series organization is by provenance including memorial sites and offices that donated materials. The bulk of the materials were received in the first few months following the incident.