Saturday, May 25

Don’t throw away tradition, save the “L” for the children

Don’t throw away tradition, save the "L" for the children

Undemocratic change of tradition is threat to Bruin unity as
UCLA ritual falls to revisionist trend

By Tim Burke

and Brian Wachowicz

UCLA traditionalists, there is something terribly amiss on
today’s Bruin campus! Our grand tradition is on the verge of death,
and with it, the last strand of unity which binds together its
students, faculty and alumni – all of UCLA’s "championed

We are not talking about the architecturally celebrated circus
tent that terminally destroyed the picturesque view from atop Janss
Steps; nor are we talking about the perpetual construction which
has invaded our campus over past years.

Fellow Bruins, we are talking about our prized fight song and
eight clap – the traditional and everlasting rally cry of our
devoted allegiance to this great university.

Suddenly, the single part of everyone’s UCLA experience which
has remained constant over the years, is being radically

Since the beginning of last year’s basketball season, the fight
song "Sons of Westwood" and the immortal eight clap seem to have
adopted a rolling "L" in their final stanzas. We know not how this
change came about, and more importantly, why the hell it has.

Student government and campus groups claim that they want this
campus to become a utopia for democratic ideals, yet we cannot
recall a vote for this so-called new and improved rolling "L" to
replace the traditionally concise and pithy "L."

The original fight song, sung by the UCLA Marching Band on their
officially recognized eight track "The Solid Gold Sound," did not
contain a rolling "L." Why has a Bruin classic been arbitrarily

Is the original eight clap no longer good enough, even after it
has led our university to numerous national collegiate titles and
to repeated victories against hated USC? Must everything that is
pure and good on this campus be amended to keep pace with this
nation’ s revisionist trends? Please tell us this injustice cannot
be true.

Advocates of the rolling "L" will claim that we are bull-headed,
right-wing conservatives who fear change and cling to ignorant and
simpleminded traditions.

However, we feel that the "L" is not just an insignificant
letter, but a symbol of the growing loss of expressive unity on
this campus. Today’s UCLA community is riddled with
multiculturalism, ethnocentrism and factionalized individualism
which separates and divides us by race, gender, religion, sexual
orientation and economic status. Why must we fuel the visible
separation by breaking with a UCLA constant?

The tradition behind the fight song and the eight clap is the
last source of collective integration for all Bruins, past, present
and future.

Are we the only ones who see the inequality among the letters
that spell out U-C-L-A? Is the "L" any different than the "U" or
the "A"? All letters are equal in our eyes, just as all Bruins are
equal within the hallows of Royce Hall.

Are we the only ones who foresee the potential danger in the
loss of a universal and lasting UCLA tradition? No, we do not think
so. We are just the only ones with the gumption to write about it.
Stop the insanity!

Please, for the sanctity of our university tradition, bring back
the succinct and staccato "L." Preserve the fight song and the
eight clap in its traditional form so that future Bruins, quite
possibly our children, will be able to perform the same ritual of
UCLA pride as we all do today.

Burke and Wachowicz are both fourth-year history students who
believe the "Star Spangled Banner" should always remain this
country’s national anthem, and only be performed in its original
military-marching-band style.Comments to
[email protected]

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