Kevin Moran’s Story Remembered 46 years later…

The University of California, Santa Barbara was one of the places that was experiencing its own form of social outbreaks in the 1970’s over the war in Vietnam. In the University, peaceful demonstrations against the war in Vietnam sometimes ended through rioting out in the neighboring community of Isla Vista. The riot most arguably noted in the history of Isla Vista is the one that occurred on February 25th, 1970, which resulted in the burning of a Bank of America. The reason students burned down the bank was to make it a symbol against funding for the war in Vietnam, which Bank of America was funding (dailynexus.com).

Students were protesting the establishment with chaos, and Kevin Moran became as a result of that chaos. After the first branch of bank of America was destroyed, a second branch was built to hold the place of the first. The communities reaction to the second center became apparent during another riot in Isla Vista. On April 18th, 1970, students proceeded to try to burn not only the bank but also other businesses in the area. In response to this, student body president at the time Bill James used KCSB radio station to make a request to put out the fires set up by extremist (islavista.org).

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KEVIN P. MORAN (March 15, 1948 – April 18, 1970)

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Kevin Moran was a UCSB student from Saratoga, CA, who along with his roommates answered to the request from the radio and moved to put out fires. Moran and his roommates had put out a fire in Taco Bell before they moved to put out the fire at the Bank of America. While Moran was trying to put out the fire inside the bank, a police officers “misguided” bullet took Moran’s life (saratogahistory.com). This incident became the only death as a result of the riots, and to this day, we remember Kevin Moran in Isla Vista.

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Original plaque placed by Bank of America that still remains outside of Embarcadero Hall.

After the incident, a plaque was placed on the entrance of the bank that reads “FOR SOCIAL CHANGE, FAIR PLAY, AND PEACE” including Moran’s name and the date of the incident. The bank continued to use the facility until 1981 when it shut down and became Embarcadero Hall but Moran’s story was everlasting (keyt.com). The Embarcadero Hall still has the plaque placed in its front doors in memory of Moran, making it a container for the incident that took his life as well as for the turmoil that took over Isla Vista.