The University of Wisconsin at Madison is spending $50,000 to move a giant rock that leftist students insist is a symbol of racism—all because a century ago some publication used a racial epithet to refer to the rock.
Chamberlin Rock, which was positioned in the same spot on campus since 1925, is a boulder named after Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, a former university president and geologist. But according to students who testified at a Campus Planning Committee meeting last November, the rock is racist because it was referred to with a racial slur in a 1925 newspaper headline.
“The derogatory nickname was commonly used at the time to refer to any large, dark rock,” relayed a university press release. “The Wisconsin Black Student Union, in partnership with the Native American student organization Wunk Sheek, led an effort to remove the rock from campus. UW–Madison’s main campus is on ancestral Ho-Chunk land.”
The rock is deemed by experts to be more than 2 billion years old, and it will be used for educational purposes at its new location. Nearly 12,000 years ago, it came from northern Canada to Observatory Hill—the Wisconsin area—after being carried by glaciers.
The students, however, have evidently yet to unearth evidence that the professor the rock is named after is a racist. Instead, the boulder was characterized as oppressive because a writer 100 years ago referred to it with an outdated term, “nig-erhead,” which was used by people at the time to describe darker rocks, as noted by the university. The 42-ton boulder will be moved off-campus thanks to private donations.
Wisconsin Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman, who went to Madison for his undergraduate and law degrees, told The Federalist he has never heard anyone imply anything racist about the boulder.
“It’s high time in society and education, in particular, to stop paying attention to the most thin-skinned in society,” Grothman said. “I’m sure I’ve walked within 40 feet of the rock hundreds of times. I never knew it existed. Nobody ever talked about it.”
Last summer, Wisconsin’s Black Student Union led the charge. A senior who participated in the effort claimed to the Associated Press that moving the rock provides “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 university did not respond to a request for comment.