Man who saved ‘the rock’ passes away: Remembering journalist, UConn alum Mark Hawthorne

Before he was Hate Man, Mark Hawthorne attended UConn, wrote for The Daily Campus and was an advocate for saving the rock on campus, which is painted frequently by student groups. He was also a member of the Peace Corps and wrote for the New York Times. (Stephen Loewinsohn/East Bay Express)

The man famously known as Hate Man, Mark Hawthorne, died Sunday after over a decade of willingly living in the People’s Park of Berkeley, California.

Hawthorne graduated from the University of Connecticut and reported for the New York Times before choosing to live a strange and rich life as a man known for yelling “I hate you” to passersby, according to the Guardian.

Hate Man died around 6:30 p.m. in Alta Bates Hospital, according to a Facebook post by Dan McMullan, who started a Fundly page for Hawthorne.

“For me to trust a person and be comfortable with them, they have to be willing to say ‘I hate you,'” Hawthorne told Bay Area News Group during an interview in People’s Park in 2011.

“Negative emotions, he insisted, are true and real, while positive feelings are intrinsically hypocritical.”

Hate Man coined his philosophy as “oppositionality,” according to the Guardian.

He taught English in Thailand for the Peace Corps before working as a reporter for the New York Times, according to the Guardian. He later moved to California in 1973 to pursue his philosophy of oppositionality.

Mark Hawthorne during his service in the U.S. Air Force. (Courtesy/Prudence Hawthorne)

Mark Hawthorne during his service in the U.S. Air Force. (Courtesy/Prudence Hawthorne)

Hate Man’s sister, Prudence Hawthorne, reached by phone in Montana, spoke with The Daily Campus and said that the two exchanged lots of letters over the decades.

“In his letters the thing he said most was not ‘I hate you’ but ‘I care about you,’” Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne said her brother was a free-spirit and that “he lived the way he wanted to live.”

While at UConn, he was the managing editor of The Daily Campus from 1956 to 1958, as well as founder of a magazine he called the Corkscrew Magazine.

At UConn, Mark Hawthorne led a campaign to save “the rock” – a big rock on campus that is frequently painted by student groups to raise awareness for causes or events. The tradition provides students with a way to showcase school spirit and pride in individuals organizations, according to UConntact.

The rock was much bigger back then and school officials had decided to demolish it. Mark Hawthorne led a campaign, started rallies and wrote letters to save the rock from being fully demolished, his sister said.

Hawthorne said their Aunt Hazel was one of Mark’s strongest influences in his decision to attend UConn and become an English major. She was a “literary doyen” who brought together people interested in the arts, Hawthorne said. Hate Man graduated from UConn in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

While residing in People’s Park, Hate Man would rarely spend money on things because if he waited a few days they would eventually come to him, Hawthorne said. He preferred to scrounge for his food and clothes.

“I’m addicted to it,” Hate Man said of the “homeless” life in an interview with the East Bay Express. “It’s fresh air. It’s exciting. It’s very Zen. There are problems with it, but it’s very immediate – whether it’s weather or a ticket or a psycho. Whereas rent, those are longer-term problems.”

Hate Man lived his life how he wanted with his belief that “the people should run their own lives.”’ He promoted keeping just the essentials and fighting for the people, his sister said.  

The University of California at Berkeley had made plans to demolish the People’s Park in order to build dorms, his sister said. But Hate Man spread the message of preserving the park and keeping it for the people just as he did with UConn’s rock.


Emma DeGrandi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.degrandi@uconn.edu.