University of Wisconsin Removes Giant Rock From Campus After Activists Claimed It Was ‘Racist’

A large “racist” rock was removed from the University of Wisconsin’s Madison campus after the Black Student Union and others objected to its description.

Chamberlin Rock, which is situated on top of Observatory Hill, is named after 19th-century geologist and university president, Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, who spent his life researching glacial deposits, the university’s website says.

However, one reporter’s reference to the rock in a Journal article ignited calls for its removal.

In 1925, the university had the precious boulder – which is said to be more than 2-billion-years-old – excavated and placed atop the hill to honor Chamberlin, who would pass away three years later. It was believed to have been carried by glaciers from Canada to Wisconsin.

In the 1920s, a slang word used to describe large dark rocks included the N-word, and it is present in coverage of the boulder’s installation.

According to a recent article, the Ku Klux Klan was active on campus at the time of the rock’s dedication, and  Juliana Bennett, a senior and a campus representative on the Madison City Council said removing it was a small step toward a more inclusive environment.

In an interview with the Associated Press, she said:

“This moment is about the students, past and present, that relentlessly advocated for the removal of this racist monument. Now is a moment for all of us BIPOC students to breathe a sigh of relief, to be proud of our endurance, and to begin healing.”

The removal was approved back in January by University Chancellor Rebecca Blank, but it also needed to be greenlit by the Wisconsin Historical Society because the Chamberlin Rock was situatied only 15 feet of a Native American burial site.

Chamberlin is set to receive a new plaque in a building named after him, and the rock will be transported to Lake Kegonsa on other land owned by the university.

Students had also demanded the tear-down of an Abraham Lincoln statue on campus – but university heads rejected their request.

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