Crane operators on Friday removed a boulder from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus that some claimed was a symbol of the university’s racist past.
“Chamberlin Rock, named for former university president and geologist Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, was at least once referred to as a ‘n——-head’ rock in a 1925 Wisconsin State Journal story. University historians have not found any other time that the slur was used,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
According to the outlet, the Ku Klux Klan was active on the campus during that period and the resurfacing of the initial article prompted a “reevaluation” of the boulder.
It is a rare example of a Precambrian era glacial erratic and was previously estimated to weigh nearly 70 tons. However, updated measurements place it at 42 tons, the Journal reported Sunday.
Video footage showed crews lifting the boulder off the ground:
“The rock will be placed on publicly accessible university-owned land southeast of Madison near Lake Kegonsa, where it will continue to be used for educational purposes by the geoscience department,” the article read.
A time-lapse video showed crews placing the rock onto a tractor-trailer before hauling it away:
“Removing the rock as a monument in a prominent location prevents further harm to our community while preserving the rock’s educational research value for our current and future students,” Gary Brown, the university’s director of campus planning and landscape architecture, claimed.
Brown added the estimated cost of its removal was under $50,000 and was funded through private donations.
The Black Student Union and Wunk Sheek, and Indigenous student group, spearheaded the campaign to remove the boulder in summer 2020.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison made plans to remove the rock in November, Breitbart News reported.
Juliana Bennett, a university senior who is the campus representative on the Madison City Council, asserted that placing it somewhere else was a step to a more inclusive campus.
“This moment is about the students, past and present, that relentlessly advocated for the removal of this racist monument,” she commented, adding, “Now is a moment for all of us BIPOC students to breathe a sigh of relief, to be proud of our endurance, and to begin healing.”