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UW-Madison Removes Campus Rock Seen as ‘Symbol of Racism’

UW-Madison Removes Campus Rock Seen as ‘Symbol of Racism’

“The boulder is a rare, large example of a pre-Cambrian era glacial erratic that experts say is likely over 2 billion years old.”

Earlier this week is was reported that removing the rock was delayed over concerns of disturbing Native American burial mounds.

The Associated Press reports:

University of Wisconsin moves rock seen as symbol of racism

The University of Wisconsin removed a large boulder from its Madison campus on Friday at the request of minority students who view the rock as a symbol of racism.

Chamberlin Rock, on the top of Observatory Hill, is named after Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, a geologist and former university president. Students of color on campus say the rock represents a history of discrimination. The boulder was referred to as a derogatory name for Black people in a Wisconsin State Journal story in 1925.

The derogatory term was commonly used in the 1920s to describe any large dark rock. University historians have not found any other time that the term was used, but they said the Ku Klux Klan was active on campus at that time, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

University Chancellor Rebecca Blank approved removing Chamberlin Rock in January but the Wisconsin Historical Society needed to sign off because the boulder was located within 15 feet (4.6 meters) of a Native American burial site.

The rock will be placed on university-owned land southeast of Madison near Lake Kegonsa. The university plans to erect a plaque in Chamberlin Hall to honor the former university president, school spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said.

The boulder is a rare, large example of a pre-Cambrian era glacial erratic that experts say is likely over 2 billion years old. It was carried by glaciers from as far north as Canada and dumped on Observatory Hill along with billions of tons of other debris when ice receded from the state about 12,000 years ago. It was previously estimated to have weighed up to 70 tons, but an updated measurement shows it weighs 42 tons. It will continue to be used for educational purposes at its new site.


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healthguyfsu | August 8, 2021 at 1:40 pm

2 billion year old racist rock…man racism really has been going on forever! Even billions of years before races existed…who woulda thunk it???

We now have tangible evidence for “dumber than a rock.”

Using the same logic, brazil nuts must be banned!

The Friendly Grizzly | August 8, 2021 at 8:56 pm


So did they finally excavate a “victim of oppression” from underneath it?

Someone explain to me how someone referring to the rock by the n-word makes the rock a symbol of oppression, rather than a victim of oppression? Isn’t putting a victim of oppression out of sight and out of mind a racist act?

As tots in RI in the ’50s, we would often play with a local species of buckhorn plantain, making a sort of slingshot out of the stalk and shooting the seed pods at each other. The common term for this weed all over the state was “n-heads.” Was this weed the oppressor? The oppressed? I suppose I was the oppressor… that’s the one-size-fits-all answer that is never wrong.

Has anyone wondered how dumb we will look in the history books?

Objectively, is there educational value in the context of the rock? The campus is located on an elevated strip of land between two large round lakes. One would hope that students have asked, how were these lakes formed? Why is this hill here and why is this large heavy rock on top of it?

If you move the rock to the middle of some corn field, you destroy its teaching value. In contrast, there is absolutely no teaching value in a social studies class focusing upon the color of the rock in either location. “Move the rock” is just meaningless virtue signaling.