Recent Press

Court gives green light to Westmont construction

Just days before Westmont broke ground, opponents of the project and school attorneys made oral arguments to the court of appeal. Opponents alleged the school relied on an environmental impact report that didn’t adequately assess the scale of the project. But the appeals court didn’t agree, saying in its ruling that it concurred with a Superior Court ruling that found Westmont had done nothing wrong. more

Opinion: Heroes and Perpetrators – Miracle on Chelham Way

I have lived on Chelham Way for 20 years and absolutely love it here. I have a great family and terrific neighbors. My story is about my neighbors and the recent Tea Fire. My neighbor then went on to help other neighbors evacuate. I returned to my home and continued watering stuff down. We met a short time later and were watching the fire when we noticed the ever-closing flames from the direction of Westmont College. There were new flames up by the campus housing area and then another set of flames over by Coyote Road. He immediately said we were being flanked and that it was time to go. more

Westmont Okayed for Expansion — Once Again

A year after a Santa Barbara Superior Court judge rejected a lawsuit from the Concerned Citizens Over Westmont Expansion group, the California Court of Appeals on Dec. 3 denied an appeal by the same group of that decision, which means Westmont College can proceed with plans which will drastically change the landscape of the campus. The Westmont Master Plan, already with its first phase underway, will add roughly 345,000 square feet to campus. Opponents were arguing that Westmont had “slapdash analysis” in its final subsequent environmental impact report, and that the FSEIR (Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report ) issued in 2006 didn’t meet California Environmental Quality Act standards. They argued this in part because—of the approximately 345,000 square foot expansion project—they said only 145,000 of it has been subjected to environmental review over the years 44 years Westmont had been talking about updating its Master Plan. more

Local poets hold reading for fire victims : Professor loses priceless poetry, fiction collection

Westmont College English Professor Paul Willis remembers that he was due to participate in a poetry reading at Santa Barbara City College on the night the Tea Fire broke out. By 6:10 p.m., he and his wife Sharon, a nurse at the Westmont Health Center, knew they had better evacuate. They lived in Carpinteria during the Painted Cave Fire in 1990 and recalled all too well how quickly it roared from the mountains above Goleta to the ocean. From the time they realized the Tea Fire was nearby to the time they fled from their now-destroyed campus residence to the college gymnasium only 10 minutes had passed. more

D.A. calls Tea Fire No charges made yet in case that is ongoing

Apparently inundated with inquiries regarding the Tea Fire investigation, an official with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office Thursday said investigators are poring over materials connected to the case — and will not be commenting on the matter until the case has concluded. No one was arrested, and the names of those involved were withheld. Amid speculation that Westmont College students were involved given the campus’ proximity to the Tea House, the president there on Nov. 19 issued a statement to the contrary. more

When clay meets its muse : Form and Function offers argument for softening border control between ceramic, fine art

While it doesnt happen often enough yet to be an unofficial movement, the often-stereotyped world of ceramic art and high art gallery culture have been meeting often enough in Santa Barbara in recent years to validate the idea that its getting to be a habit. Border control between those cultural factions is softening, and ceramic art is having at least some forum in fine art, as evidenced by last years Fresh Clay show at Santa Barbara City College. More to the point, the Ceramics: Form and Function show, now at Westmont Colleges Reynolds Gallery, is the third such invitational group show here over the past few years. The show is culled from around the nation and beyond by someone who understands the importance and potential of the medium, gifted Westmont graduate Chris Rupp. more

Call for good ideas : CAFs annual Call for Entries is chance to check on a pack of talented young artists

Comedy is not necessarily pretty. Ditto, contemporary art. The message rings out, in part, in the annual Call for Entries exhibition at Contemporary Arts Forum, where the grim and gritty mix it up with dry humor and abstract strategists. Taken as a whole, its a happy and healthfully varied lot. Reasonably dubbed Anthology, the exhibition fulfills our expectations of this yearly forum and offers some insight into the range of artistic talent in the area. These young artists have various connections to area institutions UCSB, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont and Brooks Institute and approach their art with conceptual underpinnings, while avoiding easy, commercially viable paths. Theyre headed towards fine art, with sometimes coarse means and ends. more

Burned Couple Upgraded to Serious Condition

Recovery continues to be taken a day at a time, “sometimes a minute at a time,” according to Blanca Flor Benedict, the mother of Carla Hoffman, who, along with her husband, Lance, experienced the gravest of injuries related to the Tea Fire three weeks ago. The two received second- and third-degree burns as they tried to leave their home. The husband and wife’s status has been upgraded from critical to serious and both are scheduled for skin graft surgery later this week. Westmont College — a community that has also suffered greatly as a result of the fire — has also responded. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and neighbors gathered Monday for an emotional chapel service of “Hope and Renewal.” more

Four Reasons to Harness the Healing Power of Poetry

For those who love the written word, poems are great life companions. We choose poetry as a means of expressing the depth of feeling in profound moments and to communicate our joys. In times of loss and sorrow, poetry can remind us of our shared humanity, and even help to make pain more bearable.

For poet and Westmont College English professor Paul Willis, as for many other Santa Barbarans, the Tea Fire has been a devastating episode, as well as a reminder of what’s most important in life. Along with his family home, Willis lost his extensive collection of poetry by area and contemporary writers. This Saturday evening, December 6, friends and colleagues will gather for a poetry reading and benefit for Willis and other Westmont faculty who lost their houses and belongings to the fire. The reading will take place at SBCC’s Fé Bland Auditorium at 8 p.m. Here are a few reasons to attend and take part in the healing power of poetry and people. more

"Glory of Christmas" to benefit Santa Barbara wildfire reflief

In response to last month’s devastating wildfires in Santa Barbara County, the Crystal Cathedral announced that a portion of the proceeds from the Sunday, December 7th and December 14th performances will be directed towards the reconstruction efforts of Westmont College. Tickets will be discounted to $20 each, with 50% of the performance proceeds earmarked for Westmont College. Ticket buyers must mention “Westmont College Relief” either by phone or in-person at the Crystal Cathedral box office to receive the special price. more