Kent State Establishes Policies and Procedures for Painting Campus Rock

Kent State University will implement a new administrative policy regarding painting the Rock, which is located on Hilltop Drive on the Kent Campus. The policy, which goes into effect Jan. 11, 2021, is one of the institutional responses to racially offensive language that was painted on the Rock in 2020 and aimed at African American students. 

The purpose of the policy is to promote consistency between the use of the Rock and other similar policies that provide procedures that will not interfere with the university functions of teaching, research, public service, administration or authorized events. The intention of the policy is not to restrict free speech but rather to provide parameters for those who choose to exercise their rights via the Rock.

The policy applies to any member of Kent State. The Rock is the only piece of university property permitted to be painted by anyone.

Procedures in Kent State’s Rock policy include: 

  • Any painting on the Rock will remain for at least 24 hours, and paintings should be dated and time-stamped. Individuals and/or organizations are encouraged to document their completed paintings with a photo. 
  • The Rock must be painted in totality. Partially painting the Rock or painting comments on a previously painted Rock is not permitted. 
  • Suggested paintings on the Rock include but are not limited to event announcements, words of support and encouragement, congratulations, welcome messages, organization promotion and messages of general university spirit. Rock messages reflect the university and should be kept in good taste.
  • Paintings that are obscene (i.e., depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct so as to lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value), in violation of the university policies regarding unlawful discrimination and harassment (as defined in rules 3342-5-16, 3342-5-16.1 and 3342-5-16.2 of the Administrative Code) and/or are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action may be removed or painted over at any time.

Violations of the policy and guidelines may result in disciplinary action toward individuals and/or groups according to their affiliation with the university. Any violator of this policy as determined by the vice president for student affairs or designee may be reasonably requested to cease painting the Rock.

A group of Kent State students, faculty and staff formulated the new policy, which has been recommended by the Division of Student Affairs and has been reviewed and approved by the President’s Cabinet. 

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2020 - 3:01pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 3:40pm
University Communications and Marketing