Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Discuss today what is happening on campus non-athletically; departments, non-athletic facilities, professors, recognitions and issues. No athletics allowed.
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WaveProf
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Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by WaveProf »

A committee of faculty, students, members of the board, and alumni will be formed to determine what will replace it.

official letter from Doug Hertz and Mike Fitz
Dear Tulane Community,

In 2015, we formed the Presidential Commission on Race and Tulane Values with the goal of fostering an environment in which respect, inclusion and human dignity are embraced by all members of our campus community.

In light of our efforts to advance inclusivity and raise our cultural consciousness, we were deeply saddened to learn last week that the university's Victory Bell, forged in 1825, was originally a plantation bell. Plantation bells were used to direct the movements of enslaved Africans throughout their day.

Our historical archives confirmed the origins of the bell and that the bell came to Tulane in 1960-61. For decades it was rung to celebrate Tulane basketball victories. In 2011, the bell was installed in front of McAlister Auditorium. Hands touched and hearts embraced what had become a symbol of the Tulane spirit. It is terribly disheartening to learn that it is, in fact, a vestige of a horrific part of our nation's past. Now that we understand its history as an instrument of slavery, continuing to use this bell in a celebratory manner would run counter to our values as a university community.

Earlier today, we moved the bell to storage while we continue to conduct an in-depth investigation of its exact origins. As an academic institution, we believe it is important to find a way to use this bell to further our knowledge and understanding of slavery and pursue a more just society.

We have also moved to form a special committee comprised of board members, students, faculty, alumni and staff to recommend what should replace the Victory Bell in the central location in front of McAlister Auditorium. In doing so, we hope to establish a new tradition that truly represents a victory for all.

Although we have made real progress in building a university that better reflects our community and our highest values, the bell’s newly discovered past is a powerful reminder that the most tragic and painful elements of our nation's history continue to echo through our communities. It is also a reminder that we must be ever vigilant, ever humble and ever open to examining our own beliefs and practices as we continue to foster a more inclusive community.


Doug Hertz
Chair, Board of Tulane

Mike Fitts
President
“We will expect success in all endeavors and be prepared to assess and hold ourselves accountable when we aren't successful. Tulane is a top 40 academic institution and it should expect nothing less from its athletic department.” --Troy Dannen 11.5.16
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by speckled trout »

Would it have been okay if they just didn’t say anything about it? I highly doubt anyone would have ever found out the bell’s origins, and it is obviously not symbolic of slavery anymore... people associate it with Tulane winning athletic events

I’m just saying the bell doesn’t serve it’s original purpose anymore, it’s just an inanimate object and I don’t like seeing long-standing school traditions being stripped away
Last edited by speckled trout on Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by WaveProf »

speckled trout wrote:Would it have been okay if they just didn’t say anything about it? I highly doubt anyone would have ever found out the bell’s origins, and it is obviously not symbolic of slavery anymore... people associate it with Tulane winning athletic events
Since the info was brought to them by someone last week you can rest assured that that person wouldn't have been very happy if they didn't do anything about it. And then, instead of a news story about how Tulane did research and made a decision, you'd have a news story about how Tulane knew and tried to hide it. Pretending they didn't know would be a horrible decision. They had two options: 1) do what they did 2) go public with its history and their reasons for keeping it. They needed to own it one way or the other.
“We will expect success in all endeavors and be prepared to assess and hold ourselves accountable when we aren't successful. Tulane is a top 40 academic institution and it should expect nothing less from its athletic department.” --Troy Dannen 11.5.16
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by speckled trout »

That’s unfortunate, but thanks for explaining and it probably saves a lot of headache to just remove it. Maybe just replace it with a different bell?
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by ml wave »

speckled trout wrote:That’s unfortunate, but thanks for explaining and it probably saves a lot of headache to just remove it. Maybe just replace it with a different bell?
Just use the one we won in the bowl game, it's not like we'll lose it anytime soon...
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by TUPF »

I own a condo six blocks from the Liberty Bell, which was originally cast for something else, not the worldwide symbol it has become. The symbol of freedom has long since supplanted it’s original purpose as a statehouse bell.

Now that the true origins of the McAlister bell is known it would be impossible to stuff that knowledge toothpaste back into the tube. And no, trying to keep its origin under wraps would never end well—remember, it’s always the cover up that bites you in the butt. Unlike the Liberty Bell, ringing it for a sports victory (not a lot of ringing if we’re honest) for a few years does not erase its pedigree. Besides, we can make another one. Pick something else to bunch our skivvies but this isn’t it.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by WaveProf »

I'll also say I was suprised to find out it had only been at Tulane since 1960/61. It has been a bit of a "forced" tradition post-K, though it had made some traction. Victory Bells were common traditions (especially in the midwest) in the 20s and 30s, so I thought ours dated back to then, not less than 60 years. Was it a bigger deal in the 60s or 70s?

It's always shocking to find out things that seemed like major traditions when we were at a school may not have been as "traditional" as they at first seemed.

TUPF is right of course, you can't put the knowledge back in the tube. Even if the university doubled down on Speckled's argument, it would constantly come up every few years (or more often) until they finally remove it decades from now. Meanwhile, can we really expect to demand that african american players go ring it? Now that they know what history it had? What kind of stories come out of that? Especially at a time that one of Tulane's biggest pushes is to up the diversity rates across campus?
Last edited by WaveProf on Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“We will expect success in all endeavors and be prepared to assess and hold ourselves accountable when we aren't successful. Tulane is a top 40 academic institution and it should expect nothing less from its athletic department.” --Troy Dannen 11.5.16
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by Wandering Quaker »

Cast a bell the same size and approximate tone, and ship the old one off to a smelter. Shoot video of the old one being melted down. Publicize video. End of story.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by Baywave1 »

Gibson Hall is next. It's inevitable.

As concerns the plantation bell, isn't it better that it has been repurposed to a victory bell for what, seventy years? Doesn't Isaiah tell us to beat our swords into ploughshares not refuse to touch them as if they had coronavirus? Turn what is destructive into something constructive. Great insight 2500 years ago and even truer today.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

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Baywave1 wrote:Gibson Hall is next. It's inevitable.

As concerns the plantation bell, isn't it better that it has been repurposed to a victory bell for what, seventy years? Doesn't Isaiah tell us to beat our swords into ploughshares not refuse to touch them as if they had coronavirus? Turn what is destructive into something constructive. Great insight 2500 years ago and even truer today.
I always preferred Ole Miss's response to confederate statues (adorn them with signs stating when they were put up and why, along with signs about the horrors of slavery, to make them a conversation starter) over the city of New Orleans's response (removal). The Basques did something similar with Franco's home in Donostia-San Sebastian (planting a tree from a sapling taken from the Ann Frank tree directly in front of it, along with a monument to the thousands murdered by Franco, and making the inside a conference space for peace talks), which is far superior to what Spain has done (erasure). So, yes, I like your theory. But I'm not quite sure that that theory applies to ringing a victory bell for sports teams. Such a repurposing doesn't invoke dialogue about the horrors of the past, it asks us to forget them as we get excited about a sports feat.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by windywave »

I'm just curious who had the free time and desire to actually research the history of the bell
Using big words is not a personal attack
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by Baywave1 »

WaveProf wrote:
Baywave1 wrote:Gibson Hall is next. It's inevitable.

As concerns the plantation bell, isn't it better that it has been repurposed to a victory bell for what, seventy years? Doesn't Isaiah tell us to beat our swords into ploughshares not refuse to touch them as if they had coronavirus? Turn what is destructive into something constructive. Great insight 2500 years ago and even truer today.
I always preferred Ole Miss's response to confederate statues (adorn them with signs stating when they were put up and why, along with signs about the horrors of slavery, to make them a conversation starter) over the city of New Orleans's response (removal). The Basques did something similar with Franco's home in Donostia-San Sebastian (planting a tree from a sapling taken from the Ann Frank tree directly in front of it, along with a monument to the thousands murdered by Franco, and making the inside a conference space for peace talks), which is far superior to what Spain has done (erasure). So, yes, I like your theory. But I'm not quite sure that that theory applies to ringing a victory bell for sports teams. Such a repurposing doesn't invoke dialogue about the horrors of the past, it asks us to forget them as we get excited about a sports feat.
WP, All good points. I simply note that the use of the victory bell roughly parallels the time Tulane has been integrated. Perhaps link those two formally and one comes closer to the freedom loving Basque example you shared.

Regardless as I said this is simply a trial balloon for the renaming of Gibson Hall.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by ml wave »

windywave wrote:I'm just curious who had the free time and desire to actually research the history of the bell
Historians?
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by WaveProf »

Baywave1 wrote: Regardless as I said this is simply a trial balloon for the renaming of Gibson Hall.
If some student organizations have their way, Gibson Hall is the next step, not the endgame. The endgame would be the name of the University itself. But I don't think it'll ever go that far. The question is how far does it go, and how fast does it go there.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by windywave »

ml wave wrote:
windywave wrote:I'm just curious who had the free time and desire to actually research the history of the bell
Historians?
Just seems like such a minor thing to research
Using big words is not a personal attack
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

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And I simply wonder how many of those students are on scholarship at a university privatized by General Gibson and endowed by Paul Tulane? Again let's channel Isaiah: Take what is destructive and make it constructive.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

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Baywave1 wrote:And I simply wonder how many of those students are on scholarship at a university privatized by General Gibson and endowed by Paul Tulane? Again let's channel Isaiah: Take what is destructive and make it constructive.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by Cheerleader »

Now, I guess we have to tear down the President's residence since it was donated by Sam Zemurray.

https://tulanehullabaloo.com/41022/news/zemurray/
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by ml wave »

windywave wrote:
ml wave wrote:
windywave wrote:I'm just curious who had the free time and desire to actually research the history of the bell
Historians?
Just seems like such a minor thing to research
Well, everybody else already has WWII covered, might as well find something different.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

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Cheerleader wrote:Now, I guess we have to tear down the President's residence since it was donated by Sam Zemurray.

https://tulanehullabaloo.com/41022/news/zemurray/
I read that but did not have that takeaway. Look, I think it’s good to question things and not accept “because it’s always been that way”. At least if you know the truth it’s with eyes wide open.

Universities relook at building names for sometimes very good reasons. Remember that Villanova renamed DuPont Pavilion after its chief donor went off the deep end and became a murderer.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by GretnaGrn »

ml wave wrote:
windywave wrote:
ml wave wrote:
windywave wrote:I'm just curious who had the free time and desire to actually research the history of the bell
Historians?
Just seems like such a minor thing to research
Well, everybody else already has WWII covered, might as well find something different.
Historians mostly spend their time on minutiae. By the time you get to grad school (and even more so as a professor) you have to be incredibly narrow in what you research.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by Bham Wave »

I think acknowledging the history of the bell and then celebrating how it was repurposed for something positive on campus would have been an acceptable path.

Also, wasn’t Tulane’s entire campus at one point a sugar plantation? Maybe I’m wrong but I seem to recall reading that somewhere.
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by Poseidon »

Why not just move the school out of New Orleans an old US mecca for slave auctions?
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by Baywave1 »

Bham Wave wrote:
Also, wasn’t Tulane’s entire campus at one point a sugar plantation? Maybe I’m wrong but I seem to recall reading that somewhere.
True. The slope is being greased as we type......
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Re: Victory Bell Removed. Most likely permanent.

Post by FW »

ml wave wrote:
windywave wrote:I'm just curious who had the free time and desire to actually research the history of the bell
Historians?
It wasn’t me
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