Mission bell to be removed

In partnership with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, UC Santa Cruz will be removing the mission bell that is located on campus. The bell was originally donated to the campus by a local women’s club many years ago and is located near the Hahn Student Services Building.

Mission bells, which were installed across the state to memorialize the California Missions, are viewed by many populations as a symbol of racism and dehumanization of their ancestors.

Campus leaders have been in discussions with Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, over the past year to coordinate the bell’s removal. The Amah Mutsun are the direct descendents of the tribal groups whose villages and territories fell under the sphere of influence of Missions San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz during the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

“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," said Sarah Latham, vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services.

“These bells are deeply painful symbols that celebrate the destruction, domination and erasure of our people,” said Lopez. “They are constant reminders of the disrespect our tribe faces to this day.”

A ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m on Friday, June 21 outside the Hahn building. After comments, the bell will be physically removed.