Even before any official word was given on the status of Chancellor Beverly Davenport Wednesday afternoon, students began to gather outside the Andy Holt Tower on UT's campus.
Once the University made Davenport's firing official, more gathered outside of the building, voicing their support.
"She stood up for us, you know, she's had our backs so there's no reason that we shouldn't have her back," said Student Body President Ovi Kabir.
Kabir joined students in painting the rock and sharing words of encouragement. Another student, Cole Tipton, worried about what Davenport's departure might mean for the LGBT community.
"We're just gonna roll with the punches, but also we're gonna fight back," they said.
"Some people are calling this a protest, but we want to stay away from that, we want to call this showing our sign of support for Chancellor Davenport because she means so much to us," said Turner Matthews, one of the students organizing the rally.
"It's a sad day, truly, for the university if she is let go," said Matthews.
Some held signs and others chanted, voicing their support for Davenport.
Students started moving the rally to the Rock late Wednesday afternoon.
UT Knoxville Student Government reacted to the news on Twitter and said it came as quite a shock to all.
"This comes as quite a shock to all. Chancellor Davenport brought unity, knowledge, and strength to our campus. We will continue to support her as she has supported us."
Students also planned a gathering of support for Davenport at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Rock. That likely won't happen since the gathering already took place Wednesday afternoon.