Students chip away paint on The Rock, “Free Palestine” messages left intact

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Laya Neelakandan/ Daily Senior Staffer

The Rock. Several individuals chipped layers of paint off of the Rock Thursday evening.

Several individuals chipped layers of paint off the back left side of The Rock Thursday evening. The identities of these people are unknown. 

The front of the Rock — which displayed “Free Palestine” messages painted by students Wednesday night — was left intact. Students had painted the rock after the Associated Student Government passed a resolution supporting Palestinian human rights.

A University Police officer was on the scene shortly before 9 p.m., videographing the area around the Rock. The officer told The Daily they visited the scene after receiving a report of the damage approximately ten minutes earlier. UP plans to file an administrative report, and the University will likely lead any follow-up investigations, the officer said.

In an email to The Daily, University spokesperson Jon Yates confirmed that UP has been notified. 

“The University is aware of damage that occurred at the Rock,” Yates wrote. “This matter has been reported to University Police.”

An anonymous student said she walked to The Rock shortly before 7 p.m. and spoke to the students there. She said the students were three seniors who told her they wanted to get to the base layer of The Rock for a personal art project.

They also said they wanted to make jewelry with the chipped paint pieces, she said. The students told her they had no intention of erasing the message in support of Palestine, she added.

“I’ve seen a lot of miscommunication around people thinking that either it was an act of aggression regarding the pro-Palestine message,” she said.

Communication sophomore Zach McCrary said he was walking by the Rock at 6:15 p.m. when he saw three students using a piece of concrete to chip away the paint.

Zach McCrary loading pieces of The Rock into shopping bags into a shopping cart. McCrary is wearing a white shirt, and is standing in front of The Rock.
McCrary and other students cleaning up the pieces of The Rock. They said they wanted to ensure no rubble washed into the lake in anticipation of a nighttime rainstorm. (Nick Francis/ Daily Senior Staffer)

McCrary said while it is unclear why the individuals chose to chip off the paint, it did not seem like they were targeting the messages on the front of the Rock.

 

“I thought it was a joke or something, and I look from the other angle, and they were banging on it with a piece of concrete,” McCrary said.

 

McCrary and other students gathered to clean up the chipped paint. In anticipation of a Thursday night rainstorm, the students said they wanted to gather the pieces to ensure the paint would not wash away and pollute the surrounding environment.

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Twitter: @maiapandey, @nick24francis, @laya_neel

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