- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A 10-ton landmark located on the campus of Youngstown State University was discovered Monday to have been vandalized with slogans supporting the Islamic State terror group.

Campus police notified students and faculty that a large boulder had been painted over with messages authorities described as being “of concern.”

Photographs circulated over social media of the boulder showed that vandals had written “We are coming,” “France deserves destruction” and “YSU supports ISIS,” an alternative name for the Islamic extremist group which claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks waged in Paris this month.

YSU Police said in a statement that they are investigating the situation and brought the matter to the attention of the FBI. In the meantime, however, the school said “There is no credible threat to the campus at this time.”

“We’ve beefed up patrol on campus. Not so much because we see it as a threat, but because we want to make sure our students to realize that they are safe,” Assistant Vice President for University Relations Shannon Tirone told the local CBS News affiliate. “So we’re taking every precaution that we possibly can at this point.”

A maintenance crew was deployed Monday to cover the messages with white paint, and students showed up later in the day to write new slogans, including “United we stand” and “God bless America.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, Ohio Democrat, attended the re-painting ceremony and saluted the students who spent the day reclaiming the rock.

“I mean, when you hear about it, you just shake your head and you think, ‘nah, you did something stupid,’” he told CBS. “You hope it’s just some kid or somebody who did something stupid. All indications are that it’s not any credible threat around here.”

The granite boulder outside of Jones Hall was presented by the Youngstown College class of 1949 upon graduation and has served as an unmistakable landmark in the decades since.

“It was the first thing you would see driving up Wick to the college,” Brian Brennan, an archivist at Maag Library, told Vindy.com for a 2009 report commemorating the 60th anniversary of the rock’s unveiling. “When you spotted it, you knew you’d arrived. … No one would dare vandalize this rock.”

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