UPDATE | YSU students meeting now to repaint iconic rock

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University students are working now to repaint the rock outside of Kilcawley Center with the American flag.

YSU senior Jordan Wolfe organized the Facebook page to repaint the rock with an American flag after discovering the rock had been defaced overnight with pro-ISIS messages.

Wolfe, a Boardman native and political science major, said the effort is to show what YSU is really about rather than the messages from this morning.

He also said he spoke to an international student who said the Arabic written this morning was misspelled.

“We are coming,” “France Deserves Destruction” and “YSU supports ISIS” were painted on the rock between Sunday night and this morning.

University crews painted over the messages this morning with white paint shortly after discovering it.

About 30 YSU students gathered around the rock this afternoon to repaint it with pro-American messages. "God Bless America," "Land of the Free" and the American flag were spray painted by the students.

Shannon Tirone, associate vice president for university relations, said campus police have reached out to other law enforcement agencies including the FBI regarding the vandalism.

“Unfortunately, this is the world we live in today,” she said.

The university issued a campus alert this morning, informing students and the campus about the incident. It urges anyone with knowledge about the incident to contact campus police at 330-941-3527.

The university said the threat isn’t believed to be credible.

Special Agent Todd Werth. who leads the Youngstown FBI office, said the agency takes such matters seriously but that “at this point, there is no specific, credible threat to Youngstown State or the Youngstown area.”

YSU students checking out the rock at about noon expressed both anger and fear about the vandalism.

The messages had already been painted over by the university by the time freshmen Jacob Croach and Bruno Abersold got out of their classes. Both men, though, said they were heading home as a precaution.

Tirone said the university is reviewing campus security campus footage.

“I can tell you we won’t be lenient,” she said.

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