In present day Isla Vista we see a carefree students going about their day, in a community quite like no other. Today we see a working community that is attached to the neighboring university. The University of California Santa Barbara holds special ties with Isla Vista with a simple road like Pardall to connect them both. It is a community the students hold dear because its reputation of being “lit”, people getting food, as well as students going to and from UCSB. Unfortunately it was not the same back in the day. Times were not as peaceful as we see today. The history of Isla Vista and the actions of a noble students Kevin P Moran, are slowly being forgotten. A plaque stands by Embarcadero Hall today to remind us of the student activism that took place during the 1970’s. This plaque stands as an Isla Vista landmark so we may know something important happened here. It is a reminder of different era were a war was taking place in Vietnam. The idea of being drafted into a war students did not support seemed unjust and inhumane. This simple plaque externalizes so much history and the fighting that went on for civil rest.
Students Taking Action
In the 1970s Students gather and organize after a empowering speech at Harder Stadium led by political activist and radical attorney William Kunstler. With roughly 3,000 people in attendance, the speech sparked students to take the streets of Isla Vista and march for their voices to be heard. Students were trying to make a change, in the success of the gathering many oppressed students, things quickly got violent as police officers showed up on the scene following the protest. Police target out Rich Underwood, with a open wine bottle in hand, police assume he is carrying a Molotov cocktail, law enforcement engage Rich beating him for refusing arrest. Students now fully enraged respond back with violence sparking a riot in Isla Vista. Police force had no choice but to leave Isla Vista as the town united to take back its streets. The students had taken a victory, they were so committed in the movement for and justice that extreme levels were reached and the symbolic burning of Bank of America occurred. The plaque stands for social change and that is what students went for.
Why the plaque was dedicated to Kevin P Moran
During the heat of the riots that followed the incident of the burning of the bank, civil unrest continued as the national guard was ordered in to step into IV calling an unspoken truth. It was on April 13th of 1970 students rallied and organized to protest for Bill Allen a UCSB Anthropology instructor and anti-war protestor who was denied tenure. With 7,776 students signing a petition to have Bill Allen reinstated, he was still denied. Students again were upset that there voices were being ignored, not only from their government but now from the UC as well. This event cause many students to take up against tyranny, they quickly united and assembled again to protest. IV was in constant struggle for freedom from authority. Again students target the reconstructed makeshift Bank of America for their source of frustration, as it was one of the corporate buildings supporting the war . The plaque marks the day of the tragic death of Kevin P Moran who was shot and killed by Police man while trying to put out the fire. The court ruled the Moran had been killed by an “accidental” discharge from officer David Gosselin who was later sent free. The peaceful and noble actions of Kevin P Moran were conglomerated with the dedication of the plaque. Despite being in the midst of chaos, Kevin has thought the community to fight fairly, we must not subdue to the level of our oppressors, as we continue to fight for social change in a peaceful way. The plaque stands forever by Embarcadero Hall for students to remember what happened, and the actions taken place by brave students.