Periodic Table of the Toys in Young Hall is updated

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The tile art piece, which is part of the UCLA Campus Art Collection, has been updated to assure a more inclusive environment for our Native American students.

In the table, the original tile for the element #49 Indium (In) featured a caricature of an “American Indian.” It has now been replaced with a tile featuring a variety of musical instruments.  

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(Left) The art piece’s designer and builder, alumna Carol Salame ’07, and Professor Richard Kaner point to the new tile (enlarged right) which Salame 

created to fit seamlessly into the table.

Dr. Mishuana Goeman (Tonawanda Band of Seneca), Associate Professor of Gender Studies, Chair of American Indian Studies IDP, Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Native American and Indigenous Affairs at UCLA, contacted the department about students’ concerns regarding the original tile creating a hostile environment.  

In 2005 the American Psychological Association (APA) issued a declaration calling for the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams and organizations based on their study which showed the harm caricatures cause American Indian students. Read the APA declaration here

Periodic Table Toys 14Professor Richard Kaner, the faculty advisor to Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS), the student group responsible for creating the Periodic Table of the Toys, worked with the designer and builder of the table, alumna Carol Salame ’07, to come up with an appropriate replacement tile. Salame created three different tiles from which Kaner chose the final tile. The two tiles not chosen are pictured at the right. 

As an undergraduate, Salame was the founding member of the Student Affiliates of the ACS at UCLA in 2005.  When the table was created in 2007, the tiles were mostly painted by children at Ronald McDonald House, Thomas Edison Middle School and Narbonne High School. The table has been designated part of the UCLA Campus Art Collection (JSTOR ID 24642431).

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The Periodic Table of the Toys which is located in the walkway next to room 1300 on the 1st floor of Young Hall.

The faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry are strongly committed to promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity. Read our full Diversity Statement here.

Students with any type of concerns about the department not being an inclusive environment are encouraged to contact Dr. Al Courey, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,