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The Cowardly Incoherence of Name-Changing, Statue-Toppling, and other Iconoclasms

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A few activists succeed in demonizing Father Serra and removing a mission bell, but progressives still want the names ‘Stanford’ and ‘Yale’ on their résumés.

My undergraduate alma mater, UC Santa Cruz, recently agreed to remove a mission bell donated years ago by a local women’s club.

The university ceded to the wishes of one Valentin Lopez. He is the chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.

Val brought forth concerns to us about the symbolism of the bell. He spoke of the historical injustices and oppression that the bell represents to the Amah Mutsun and indigenous populations. It was such a compelling statement of impact and I am pleased we have been able to work in partnership with them on the removal. Our students have also given voice to the need to remove the bell.

So said Sarah Latham, vice chancellor for business and administrative services at UCSC.

The triumphant Lopez added, “These bells are deeply painful symbols that celebrate the destruction, domination and erasure of our people. They are constant reminders of the disrespect our tribe faces to this day.” Latham offered no clarification about the definition of “students have also given voice,” in terms of numbers of students or votes. Neither the taxpayers of the state-funded institution nor the alumni were surveyed. Apparently, no one wondered, while considering the list of impediments to the progress of Native Americans, just how high an offending bell at UC Santa Cruz ranks.:snip:

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