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Hundreds Protest Racist Graffiti At Kent State University

The Rock at Kent State University
At Kent State University, The Rock, which has been painted with messages from student groups for almost 50 years, has been repeatedly defaced in the past several weeks with messaging that the university calls "insulting."

Hundreds of people protested at Kent State University Thursday over repeated incidents of racist graffiti on campus. At issue is The Rock, a large boulder that has frequently been painted with messages from student groups for almost 50 years. But over the past two weeks, it has repeatedly been painted with racist messaging.

Kent State is considering several ideas to prevent The Rock from being defaced.

Stephanie Bumbarger, a freshman from Stow, was part of the protest.  

“They say they’re going to remove The Rock or fence it off, but that’s just letting these terrible people win the fight," she said. "I think they really just need to put up security cameras so they can find the people who do it, to stop it. But that still gives students the freedom to paint it because that’s been a tradition for way longer than I’ve been alive.”

Michele Muckle, a sophomore from Maryland, also joined the protest.

“I think it’s a lot of talk and not a lot of action," she said. "So I just want to see more action from the university and see them actually standing with Black people. Because as a Black person on this campus, I don’t always feel like I have a community besides Black United Students.”

Black United Students, a campus group, submitted a list of demands to the university to make campus more inclusive. 

KSU also recently formed an Anti-Racism Task Force.

Rowan Lilly, a freshman from Cuyahoga Falls, is of Asian descent and was at the protest with her father, North, a Kent State employee who is white. He said the administration has always seemed inclusive, and the graffiti is “destructive, hateful, and cowardly.” 

North said he hopes the university finds the people who defaced The Rock. He said if the perpetrators know they would be "marked as those who did this, they might be less likely to do this.”