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  • Tessa Ramsden

UI Student Starts Petition to Turn Brain Rock Piss-Yellow

piss yellow brain rock

Most UI students know the infamous rumor surrounding the Brain Rock statue located on T. Anne Cleary Walkway: drunk people piss on the monument. The truth on whether this rumor started the pissing, or if the pissing developed from the rumor itself has been lost to time, but it's safe to say that by now that rumor is more than true. These days, a simple statue of a rock carved in the shape of a human brain has become an icon for anyone stumbling home to their dorms late at night with a full bladder.

But when students returned to campus after winter break, many were devastated to find that their favorite walkway obstruction was covered in several inches of snow, completely encasing the grooves of the rock and turning it into a sad, white lump. What would the tour guides jokingly tell high schoolers to touch now?

Hailey Pinkelin, a fourth-year social justice major, knew something had to be done. “I’ve lived in the dorms all four years, two as a student and two as an RA,” she told Doily. “Seeing the grossest thing on campus all covered up when I’m walking to my dorm makes me sad.” 

Pinkelin got her big idea while walking her friend’s dog. Watching the dog stop and turn to piss into the snow, slowly turning the white slush a sour-looking yellow, she thought about the snow piled atop the Brain Rock. What if the drunks could keep pissing on the rock enough to turn it yellow, preserving the horror of the rock’s notoriety for all to see?

Putting her social justice teachings to work, Pinkelin began creating pamphlets and posters to paste up around the university. “The RA thing gives me permission to put flyers on most of the bulletin boards,” she admitted. “That made spreading my message pretty easy.” The posters were bright and eye-catching, with jarring pink text on a yellow background. MISS THE PISS ROCK? KEEP PISSING TO TURN THE ROCK YELLOW! SIGN THE PETITION! the posters announce, with side-by-side images of the uncovered Brain Rock and the snow covered counterpart and a QR code linking to her petition.

When asked why she chose to make a petition rather than just putting the idea out there, Pinkelin pulled it up on her phone to show us. “When you can track the number of people who seem to agree with what you are saying, it makes people more willing to take that step of actually pulling their pants down. Without the evidence of the petition, most people would probably just back out of actually pissing on the rock.”

In fairness to her, the petition has been generating impressive numbers. As of this article being published, Pinkelin’s petition “Make the UI Brain Rock Piss-Yellow” has garnered over two thousand signatures on, and those numbers are steadily rising. Her results can also be seen on the Brain Rock itself, as today when you walk past the snowy monstrosity, it has begun to take on the palest tinge of that signature piss-yellow.

Pinkelin is proud of the work she is doing, but says she isn’t surprised by how much her idea has taken off. “I knew I couldn’t be the only one who missed the Piss Rock,” she said. “I just had to be the first one to say something about it.”

University officials have yet to make any sort of comment on the petition regarding the coloring of the Brain Rock, although they have never seemed to comment on the rumor of the rock in the past, either. If you would like to contribute to Pinkelin’s petition, go to, or just go piss on the rock tonight.


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