JMU Spirit Rock repainting lights up social media

Published: Apr. 2, 2016 at 5:32 PM EDT
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The Spirit Rock at James Madison University was painted Friday night to honor a dead fraternity alumnus, but Saturday morning it was painted-over with "Trump 2016." That's causing an uproar that's trending right now on social media.

For the second time in 24 hours, folks are re-painting the JMU Spirit Rock

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in memory of a lost loved one. They are doing this for the second time because late Friday night someone painted over their memorial. Leaders with JMU say the Spirit Rock is a place of free expression, and anyone can paint it any time how they see fit.

JMU's chapter of the Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) fraternity said they painted a memorial on the Spirit Rock in honor of one of their brothers --Jeffery Matthews, Jr.-- who died on Tuesday. After hours of painting on Friday night they finished it in time for the vigil on Saturday. They woke up Saturday morning to the rock repainted with support of Donald Trump, and their memorial was gone.

"Personally, I was sad --even more sad than I have been-- simply because there are those that act without thought," said Omega Psi Phi Beta Delta Delta Chapter President Gabriel Driver. Driver said he believes this was an act of ignorance, not racism because nobody knows what the motivation was behind the repainting.

Bill Wyatt with JMU said, "There are no regulations that govern who paints it and when or for how long the painting lasts."

That vigil for Jeffrey Matthews, Jr., will be held at the Spirit Rock, at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 2. Vigil organizers want everyone to know this is all about celebrating his life and who he was as a person.