UT vandalism spurs question: How much do most of us know about IWD's origin?

No group officially claimed responsibility for the vandalism but the message did appear to be connected to International Women's Day, and it showed just how little so many of us know about the origin and intention of the day.

Thursday morning in Austin, staff walked onto the University of Texas campus to find the water of Littlefield Fountain dyed purple and the words "This is the blood of survivors that UT ignores" spray painted in red on a nearby wall.

A hammer and sickle were painted at the end of the statement.

Theories began to fly. Why purple? A spokesperson with the university originally said the water turned purple from runoff as crews power washed away the graffiti. Other theories posted on Twitter proposed that the water turned purple because red dye was mixed with blue dye already in the water or that chlorine turned the dye purple.

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As of noon Thursday, it was still unclear whether the water turned purple because of the graffiti runoff or it was intentionally dyed purple or red, as the spray painted message suggested. No group officially claimed responsibility for the vandalism but the message did appear connected to International Women's Day, and it showed just how little so many of us know about the origin and intention of the day.

Whether by design or not, it just so happens that purple is the official color of IWD.

"Purple signifies justice and dignity," says a post on the International Women's Day site.

So where do the hammer and sickle, a well known symbol of communism and socialism, come in play?

The idea of IWD was first discussed in Copenhagen at a 1910 International Socialist Women's Conference. The proposal came two years after 15,000 women marched in New York City to demand voter rights, better hours and higher pay and one year after the Socialist Party of America declared February 28 National Woman's Day.

On March 19, 1911, one year after the Copenhagen conference, International Women's Day was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. More than six decades later, in 1975, the United Nations first celebrated the day. And in December of 1977, UN members proclaimed March 8 the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

This year has proved significant for IWD as the #MeToo movement that went viral in 2017 has empowered women to speak out against sexual assaults and harassment.

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And while there has been no confirmation on who vandalized the UT fountain, one group called the Revolutionary Student Front in Austin suggested it was in protest to the university's decision to not terminate a professor who pleaded guilty in the 2016 violent assault of his girlfriend.

The professor, 57-year-old Richard Morrisett, pleaded guilty to domestic violence that took place off campus. The Austin American-Statesman reported that Morrisett pleaded guilty to the felony charge "of strangling his girlfriend to the point that she saw 'stars.'" He also was accused of repeatedly attempting to contact her despite a court order for him to stay away.

Parents of UT students in a group called SafeHorns challenged the university's decision to keep Morrisett, a tenured professor at the College of Pharmacy. UT officials claimed they couldn't terminate the professor based on current policies and rules because there was no correlation between how he acted during the 2016 incident and how he acted on campus.

Meanwhile, across the world, women are continuing IWD's original intention - protesting for equal rights.