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University Response to the Defacement of Spirit Rock


Over the past few days, we have experienced two incidents of defacement and vandalism on Spirit Rock. While Spirit Rock has long been intended as a space for free expression, these particular incidents have entailed intentional physical damage to University property. This kind of vandalism does not constitute protected speech and will not be tolerated, and cameras have been installed that are aimed at the rock. 

Furthermore, we have seen that these acts of vandalism were specifically directed at defacing a message about Black Lives Matter. As a public institution, the University embraces values of diversity and inclusivity as central to our educational mission, even as we are committed to protecting freedom of expression. We will continue to stand with our Black students, faculty and staff in seeking to address systemic racism, and we call upon our entire community to be part of that ongoing work.      

Jonathan Alger
President, James Madison University

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Published: Friday, August 21, 2020

Last Updated: Friday, August 21, 2020

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