by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
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 Society.
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.” …
… 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 instruction.