University of Wisconsin Declares Large Rock to be Racist

UW-Madi­son is mov­ing for­ward on a plan to remove a boul­der from Obser­va­to­ry Hill after calls from stu­dents of col­or who see the rock as a painful reminder of the his­to­ry of racism on campus.

The 70-ton boul­der is offi­cial­ly known as Cham­ber­lin Rock in hon­or of Thomas Crow­der Cham­ber­lin, a geol­o­gist and for­mer uni­ver­si­ty pres­i­dent. But the rock was referred to at least once after it was dug out of the hill as a “nig­ger­head,” a com­mon­ly used expres­sion in the 1920s to describe any large dark rock.

The Cam­pus Plan­ning Com­mit­tee unan­i­mous­ly vot­ed last week to rec­om­mend to Chan­cel­lor Rebec­ca Blank that the boul­der be removed from Obser­va­to­ry Hill. Blank has pre­vi­ous­ly indi­cat­ed she sup­ports the rock’s removal, though a time­line for removal has not been established.

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