Outsider vandalized UConn’s Spirit Rock

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The University of Connecticut’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion discovered the person behind the vandalization of the campus’ Spirit Rock is not part of the UConn community. 

Last week the campus Spirit Rock, which read Black Lives Matter, was altered to say All Lives Matter, causing outrage on campus. 

The statement, released on Friday by Franklin Tuitt, UConn’s chief diversity officer and vice president for diversity and inclusion and Michael Gilbert, UConn’s vice president for student affairs, details their conclusion on the incident. 

“After reviewing the incident, including video footage in which the license plate of the individual responsible was visible,” the statement said, “the university determined that the person has no known current connection to UConn – meaning they are not a student or an employee – and they do not live in Mansfield.” 

The state’s attorney office determined no charges can apply against the person who vandalized the Spirit Rock. 

“the university determined that the person has no known current connection to UConn – meaning they are not a student or an employee – and they do not live in Mansfield.”

“Painting the Spirit Rock is a campus tradition that is intended solely for UConn students and student organizations,” the statement said. “We will update our policy on the rock to reflect this.” 

Libby Williams, seventh semester English and Human Development and Family Studies double major, was disheartened to see the rock altered. 

“This affects me a lot because when I first returned to campus we were welcomed with a positive and supportive message from our student body that we were loved, respected and valued,” Williams said in a Facebook post to Buy or Sell UConn. 

Williams said she is indifferent to the discovery of the person being a non-UConn community member. 

“It is the responsibility of the university to ensure that the students who are on campus feel safe both physically and emotionally, regardless of outside sources who may come in and try to disrupt the peace,” Willams said. 

“I feel proud knowing that the overwhelming majority of my colleagues and fellow huskies protected our pack with an abundance of support,”

There was a more urgent response from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on this incident than from the president, Willams said. 

“His message, while attempting to be sympathetic and understanding, was perceived by many students as timid and detached from the situation,” Williams said. “Students of color are tired of coming to UConn with the same concerns and returning with empty promises, these incidents need to be taken more seriously instead of continuously being excused.” 

Willams said the person who painted over the rock was looking for an angry reaction from the UConn community. 

“I feel proud knowing that the overwhelming majority of my colleagues and fellow huskies protected our pack with an abundance of support,” Williams said. “If I had to say anything to the person who painted the rock, I’d remind them that their acts of hate accentuates the need for reformation, spreads crucial awareness of systemic racism and ultimately increases our allies and the power of Black voices.” 

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