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Posted on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 2:32 p.m.

Vandals attempt to pry up the University of Michigan's block M seal from The Diag

By Juliana Keeping

The brass block M seal on the University of Michigan Diag is gone after vandals attempted to pry it from the ground last week.

University of Michigan Police Sgt. Jason Forsberg said an officer was flagged down the morning of Aug. 21 by someone who noticed the M was partially pried up and was protruding from the concrete.


It was removed by the U-M welding shop for repairs. No one has been charged with vandalizing it, Forsberg said.

According to the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, the landmark in front of the Hatcher Graduate Library has been in place since it was installed by the class of 1953. Prior to that, a brick-and-mortar seal had been in place since the 1920s. That seal was removed in 1952 to make way for a new walkway. The block M carries superstition that freshmen students who step on it before their first blue book exam will fail. In earlier times, it marked a spot of rivalry between freshmen and upper classmates. The frosh weren't allowed to set foot in the circle surrounding the seal or they'd suffer the consequences, so says the Alumni Association.

Juliana Keeping covers the University of Michigan for Reach her at or 734-623-2528.


Craig Morrison

Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 10:57 a.m.

A similar incident happened during my Ann Arbor years, the early 60s. At that time the M was set in a square of blue concrete. One Sunday morning it was found twisted, bent and upraised. We felt that someone must have been on the way back to the quads from a great party. Standards seem to have been relaxed, though. In those days stepping on the M jinxed ANY bluebook, not only one's first!


Sat, Aug 29, 2009 : 7:14 p.m.

Oh my goodness! This is so sad. Thanks for covering this story. I'd love to see a follow up on what happens next. I hope they replace it, and protect it. And I hope they catch who did this.


Thu, Aug 27, 2009 : 7:23 a.m.

It sounds like buckeyes and spartans to me!!


Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 9:58 p.m.

As a member of the Class of '53, I have a proprietary interest in "my" block M!! How dare they try to steal it!


Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 7:50 p.m.

"Police advised that the suspects were last seen headed southbound towards Columbus" (just kidding).


Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 6:51 p.m.

I suspect OSU.

Matt Van Auker

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 4:01 p.m.

Seriously, though, I can hear and see tremendously from this location, and I really miss doing so.

Matt Van Auker

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 4 p.m.

This is a scandal, of Biblical proportions.

Jen Trolsen

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 3:52 p.m.

As far as I can tell no crime was actually commited here...This falls under the domain of 'public property'


Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 2:35 p.m.

Probably from MSU

Scott Wolchok

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 1:54 p.m.

I stepped on the M when I visited for "Campus Day" back in high school. I did not fail my first blue book. I don't think it's superstition so much as the loud clunk it makes when you step on it.