Black UW students want school to remove 70-ton boulder
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Black students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison want the school to remove a 70-ton boulder from campus because its nickname is a racial slur.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Saturday that a glacier pulled the rock to Wisconsin from Canada about 12,000 years ago and deposited in the side of a hill that is now part of the state flagship school’s campus. Workers pulled the rock out of the hillside in 1925 and moved it next to the school’s observatory.
The boulder was officially named Chamberlin Rock to honor Thomas Chamberlin, a 19th-century geologist and university president.
But at the time of the rock’s discovery some referred to it colloquially with a racial slur. The slur was commonly used then to describe any large dark rock but appears to have fallen out of use by the 1950s.
Black students want the rock removed as the nation grapples with George Floyd’s death. Floyd, who was Black, died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. Chancellor Rebecca Blank has asked campus planners to look into removing the boulder.
Black students also have demanded the school remove an Abraham Lincoln statue from campus. University leaders have no plans to remove that statue, however.