Ringing in a New Era of Tulane Athletics

January 31, 2004

Bryan Cole, <i>Hullabaloo</i> assistant news editor

With the help of Undergraduate Student Government members, the long silent Tulane victory bell will be rung once again Jan. 31. The last time the bell was rung on campus was after the Tulane football team's undefeated season in 1998. Four years later, the student body is reviving this lost tradition. Under the supervision of Janelle Bakke, Undergraduate Student Government vice president for public affairs, a committee made up of USG members began to search for the original guidelines used to ring the bell and its history.

"We didn't have as much information as we would have liked," Bakke said, as much of the bell's history was unavailable in the school archives. After receiving help from the student body, the committee decided the bell will be rung at noon on the day after all Tulane football victories. "Initially the bell was rung after every Tulane victory, but since then we've moved a lot of sports off campus," Bakke said.

It will also ring after every postseason victory by any Tulane squad, including conference tournament games. In addition, the bell will also commemorate the coming and going of Tulanians, ringing after Dr. Cowen's convocation speech and during Commencement weekend. There was originally some confusion as to who should ring the bell. Bakke said that, at different points in the past, the task had fallen to members of the student government, athletes involved or cheerleaders.

Eventually, however, it was decided that members of the USG would ring the bell. Bakke was impressed by the number of students who came forth with suggestions for the bell's use.

"The number of students who responded to this is almost unprecedented," Bakke said. "Students are really interested in some kind of tradition ' to commemorate athletic victories." Bakke also stressed the importance of the role of the student body in creating these guidelines and reviving this tradition. "It is the students' bell, after all," she said.

Ross Williams, a cheerleader for Tulane, looks forward to the effect the bell will have on students' interest in the athletic program. "I think it will increase school spirit because it will give students another way to integrate into the school," Williams said. "It will bring everyone together and create a contagious atmosphere that will hopefully get more students to come to games."

Associated Student Body President James White also shared the hope that the restoration of the bell would lead to a greater outpouring of school spirit. "Hopefully we can get people to appreciate the athletic tradition of Tulane," White said. The new guidelines will take effect following a ceremony Saturday night after the women's basketball game against Memphis and before the men's game against Southern Miss.

The ceremony will be attended by the family of Richard Leche, who originally donated the bell to the University. His son Charles Leche, an alumnus of the Law School, will ring the bell at this time, regardless of the outcome of the game.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000