- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Students at Youngstown State University painted the American flag and other patriotic messages and symbols on a large rock after it was found Monday morning covered in messages extolling the Islamic State group.

Staff found the rock outside of the Kilcawley Center at the northeastern Ohio campus painted with messages that read: “We are coming,” ”France Deserves Destruction” and “YSU supports ISIS.”

Staff painted over the messages shortly after they were discovered, university spokesman Shannon Tirone said.

Nearly 60 students gathered around the rock Monday afternoon, repainting it with the American flag, “God Bless America,” ”Land of the Free” and a peace symbol. The students wrapped their arms around each other, sang patriotic songs and chanted “U-S-A!”

“We wanted to show that YSU students don’t support the propaganda that was on there,” senior Jordan Wolfe told The Vindicator (https://bit.ly/1YsJ5TS ).

Leaders of the university’s student government association said they didn’t want students to respond in fear to the pro-Islamic State group messages and urged them not to alter their daily routines.

“I would stress that while it’s something to be mindful of, by reacting fearfully to something like this or changing your behavior, you’re giving in to the group in question and all of the people who sympathize with it,” said Jacob Schriner-Briggs, the association’s vice president.

The university is reviewing campus security footage, and sent a campus alert after they found the messages on Monday morning. University police reached out to the FBI and local law enforcement over the messages, but officials don’t believe the messages indicate a credible threat.

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Information from: The Vindicator, https://www.vindy.com

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