KENT, Ohio — Kent State University announced Friday night that vandals painted a racist message on the KSU rock described as “offensive and insulting to many, specifically to members of our Black community.”
The university did not disclose what the message said, but stated that the message does not reflect its core values, stating the message is “unconstructive.”
“This occurrence further illuminates why Kent State remains focused on social justice and will, in the coming year, pay particular attention to the lived experiences of members of our Black community,” according to a statement from the university. “Recognizing that all forms of racism are connected and that anti-Blackness is the entrance point to examine the ways in which all systems of oppression are enacted, President Todd Diacon has formed an anti-racism committee whose work will begin with a focus on anti-Black racism.”
The KSU rock was placed at the base of Hilltop Drive on the northwest side of campus in 1972, after sitting on the tree lawn of East Main Street, according to Kent State’s digital archives.
“According to A Book of Memories, page 245, ‘At first Greek organizations decorated it with their symbols, but it soon became an irresistible surface for anyone with an event to celebrate, from a Homecoming triumph to a wedding,’” the archives say.