School has started again. The new year has brought things good and bad – hopefully more of the good than the bad. I got back into Santa Barbara on Saturday night. After lugging my brimming suitcases into Francisco Torres and putting everything away, I walked into the hallway to find an unpleasant sign.
“Francisco Torres has changed to Santa Catalina.” Obviously my first reaction was “What the eff?” – why did they go and change the name of the dorms halfway through the year?
People I’ve talked to feel the same way. Already, Facebook groups have been created, like the namely “Petition to Change the Name of FT Back to FT.” This is madness. This is our Sparta – and we must do all we can do to protect it.
An explanation was given to me from a few people who work for the residence halls. Apparently the school wants to change FT’s reputation. I guess they were sick of FT’s nickname, “Fuck Towers,” or the drive-by “Fuck FT!” The name was changed midway through the school year because it takes time to order a shiny new marble plaque to put in front of the building. Already the name has been changed on UCSB’s residence Web site to Santa Catalina. Now it’s going to change to “Fuck SC!” Instead of “Fuck Towers” it’ll now be called the Sex Capital or the Sex Condos. Either one fits nicely.
My home has been metaphorically castrated. Santa Catalina – the name doesn’t even flow. I understand the school is going for the whole island theme, like with San Clemente and such, but it’s getting ludicrous. Just because there is an island out there, it doesn’t mean it’s worth naming a residence hall after it. Francisco Torres was a reason to live so far away from campus and endure the countless bike rides. Santa Catalina on the other hand is a reason to live on campus and walk everywhere.
To those living in Isla Vista, it doesn’t matter to you. Or maybe it does. All the people I’ve talked to liked FT their freshman year. A name change is a travesty. I guess our class is the last of a dying breed of Francisco Torrians. The generations before us were free from persecution. Now we are forced to bear the brunt of shame and embarrassment in having to change our name halfway through the year. At the very least, the residence halls could have changed the name at the beginning of next year. It’s somewhat of an insult.
We freshmen could always take the Prince approach and start to refer to our dorms as “The Residence Halls Formerly Known as Francisco Torres.” I will still refer to my dorm as FT, as I’m sure at least over 80 percent of the freshmen living in FT will. Maybe a coup is in order. The two towers could pool their money together to buy a banner with Francisco Torres across it, and hang it in front of the building. A sit-out, protest or march is in order. Our battle: “THIS IS… FRANCISCO TORRES!”
There is little hope the hall name will go back to Francisco Torres. The time of change has come, and no revolution has occurred. Peacefully we petition to change the name back, instead of fighting. We would fight not only for our housing, but for our identity. What was once a unique residence hall will next year turn into a conformist. Damn you San Clemente, now that you’re coming in we need to finish off the islands with Santa Catalina.
Flocks of freshmen will come to school next year. Some will know of FT because of family or friends. Some won’t. Regardless, if I hear someone say Santa Catalina, I’ll do the merciful thing and correct them: “You mean FT.” Others may move on, but you’ll always be FT in my heart.