University of Tennessee condemns anti-semitic message painted on the Rock

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman issued a statement Thursday condemning an anti-semitic message painted on the Rock on campus.

Chancellor Plowman issued a statement Thursday condemning the anti-semitic message that appeared on the Rock on Wednesday.

Last night, someone covered that message of love with an anti-Semitic hate message. We condemn that hate aimed toward members of our Jewish community, and we understand that words are not enough.

-Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman

The anti-semitic message was quickly painted over with a new design imploring readers to ‘love thy brother’.

The rock on the University of Tennessee campus displays a message of unity after UT Chancellor Donde Plowman condemned an anti-semitic message found on the rock Wednesday, September 11.

Earlier in the week, the Rock had been emblazoned with a design made by a young Florida boy who was bullied at school after wearing a makeshift UT shirt.

The Rock is an iconic landmark on the University of Tennessee campus where anybody can paint it at any time.

This is not the first time hateful messages have been painted on the Rock. UT condemned hateful messages and images that were painted on the Rock in November of 2018.

Back in December of 2017 the words “white pride” were found painted on the Rock. 

An additional statement was released later Thursday by the chancellor:

“This morning, Interim Vice Chancellor Tyvi Small, Vice Chancellor Vince Carilli, and Dean Shea Kidd-Houze joined me in meeting with a group of student leaders and faculty advisors from Hillel. Our first concern is one of care for people who are hurting in our campus community. We also discussed what specific actions we can take as a community to hold ourselves and each other accountable. To that end, the Division of Student Life will convene a work group of student representatives and volunteers in the next week. The outcome of the work group will be specific actions related to community accountability at the Rock and other areas of campus.

“Provost David Manderscheid also sent resources to faculty to support them in shaping difficult dialogue around issues of racism and anti-Semitism should they need that in their classrooms.

“Vol is a verb. We will respond to hate with actions that show who we are as Volunteers as we work to create a place where everyone matters and belongs.”

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