With the recent news about Howard’s Rock at Clemson, I wanted to say a few quick words.

There’s something in these hills and I suspect that’s what it is – the ability of an institution through the unending dedication and greatness of its people – its administration, its faculty, its staff, its students and alumni – to impart to all it touches a respect, an admiration, an affection that stands firm in disquieting times when things around it give impressions of coming unglued.

I don’t think there is a better passage from Joe Sherman’s “Something in These Hills” to help me explain this post about vandalism.

A few things really bug me about this story.

One: the automatic assumption that the University of South Carolina Gamecocks are to blame. Don’t get me wrong, I often assume the worse concerning the Gamecocks as well, but by doing that, publicly all over the news and social media, Clemson loses class.

Two: the posts, blogs, phone calls talking “revenge” on whoever did this. I’m obviously upset that someone could and did come into Death Valley and deface Howard’s Rock, but fighting fire with fire gets us absolutely no where. It also makes Clemson look just as bad as whoever did this.

Three: It’s not really about the vandalism to me, it’s about the lack of respect across the Nation when it comes to higher education. At the end of the day, it’s not about the football or basketball team. I hate the Gamecocks just as much as the rest of the Clemson fan base, but at the end of the day, we are two fine, quality higher education institutions. Can we not find a way to respect the traditions and values of each other? Same for Auburn/Alabama after the poisoning of Toomer’s Corner. It’s terrible to lose a tradition loved by so many, but what hurts me more is the lack of respect. We’re all at Clemson, Auburn. South Carolina, Alabama, etc. to get a degree and better ourselves.

Four: Bringing me back to my main (and to me) most important point. When Joe Sherman wrote “something in these hills” he wasn’t talking about Howard’s Rock. He was talking about the spirit of Clemson, the people, we make Clemson the place it is. I love the tradition of Howard’s Rock, more than I can tell you, but at the end of the day, Howard’s Rock missing a piece doesn’t change Clemson University, it doesn’t change who we are, and it certainly doesn’t give us a reason to take revenge.

Go Tigers!


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