The University of Wisconsin-Madison may soon remove a
70-ton boulder that student activists claim is a symbol of the
school’s racist past.
On Nov. 19, the university’s Campus Planning Committee
voted unanimously to recommend the removal of Chamberlin Rock,
named after former university president Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin.
The rock became a source of controversy when students found that a
1925 newspaper clipping called the rock a “n****rhead,” a common
term at the time for large, dark rocks. The university
confirmed that the clipping was the only known instance of the
term being used on campus.
A university spokeswoman told the Washington Free
Beacon that the planning committee’s recommendation will be
reviewed by Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who has already expressed
support for the rock’s removal, and the Wisconsin Historical
Following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter
movement, black students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
began calling for the removal of the rock, claiming that it was a
reminder of the school’s racist history. The school’s Black Student
Union kickstarted the campaign.
“We took a stance, and a bold stance to stand up to
our university and demand things that have been demanded for so
long but have historically fallen on deaf ears,” Black Student
Union president Nalah McWhorter told the Free Beacon. “When looking
at context and what this university was like in 1925, it is very
clear that it was a very racist campus.”
Student activists across the country have called for
the removal of any monument or name with links to slavery or
racism, however tenuous those links might be. Tulane University
convinced the school to remove the “Victory Bell,” which was
used to celebrate sports wins, after discovering its association
with slavery; they also called for “reparations” for students who
experienced “emotional damage and trauma” from the bell’s presence.
Michigan State University said it may
rename its James Madison residential college to promote
“sustainable” racial change, and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas
purged its Yosemite Sam-style mascot after activists complained
it had “racist roots.”
The Wisconsin-Madison committee
estimates it will cost between $30,000 and $75,000 to remove
the boulder. The university is considering removing it in one of
three ways: relocating the rock off campus, burying it at the site
of its original location, or breaking it up and disposing of it.
Geochronology professor Brad Singer is lobbying to relocate the
rock nearby so professors can continue using it for
UW-Madison’s Black Student Union is also working to
remove a statue of Abraham Lincoln from campus, due to his
“genocide of Native Americans and his close proximity to Ho-Chunk
effigy mounds,” according to McWhorter.
The university chancellor claims the school has no
plans to remove the Lincoln statue.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Considers Removing ‘Racist’
Boulder appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.