Title















Site Registration | Find a Copy | Event Calendar | Site Map
The Voice of the Black Community
Ford 2nd round - Expedition

Local

Legal settlement will keep Confederate statue off UNC campus
 
Published Monday, December 2, 2019
by Jonathan Drew, AP

RALEIGH — The University of North Carolina announced Wednesday that a torn-down Confederate monument won’t return to campus under a legal agreement that hands over the “Silent Sam” statue to a group of Confederate descendants.

The UNC System said in a news release that a judge approved a settlement giving possession of the monument to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who will keep the statue outside the 14 counties where there are university system campuses. Silent Sam stood in a main quad of the flagship Chapel Hill campus for more than a century before it was toppled in 2018 by protesters.

The announcement comes after the university and statewide Board of Governors spent more than a year grappling with what to do with the prominent but divisive monument, a challenging period during which the Chapel Hill chancellor resigned and the campus police chief who oversaw the response to the statue’s toppling retired.

Under the agreement, university officials also will create a $2.5 million private fund that can be used for expenses related to preserving the monument or potentially building a facility to house it. No state money will be used to build the fund, the news release said.

The university system said the settlement complies with a 2015 North Carolina state law restricting the removal of Confederate monuments. “The safety and security concerns expressed by students, faculty and staff are genuine, and we believe this consent judgment not only addresses those concerns but does what is best for the university, and the university community in full compliance with North Carolina law,” Jim Holmes, a member of the UNC Board of Governors, said in a statement.

The university system statement said that the settlement was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. University system spokesmen didn’t immediately respond to emails asking for a copy of the legal settlement.

R. Kevin Stone, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ North Carolina division, issued a statement that the group was pleased to gain ownership of the statue. “We have been involved in ongoing negotiations and collaboration to achieve this outcome and we believe it is a fair result,” he said. The group didn’t immediately respond to an email asking about plans for the statue and where it may end up.

The legal settlement marks the end of a long and fraught debate among the students, faculty, alumni and administrators about whether Confederate monuments belong on campuses. While the conversation stretched back decades, protests around the statue intensified in the aftermath of a deadly white supremacist rally in Virginia in 2017.

Critics of Silent Sam called it a racist symbol, while supporters said it was meant to honor ancestors who fought and died in the Civil War. The statue came down in late 2018 after hundreds of protesters erected massive banners on poles and used diversions to conceal work to yank down the statue with a rope. With the statue gone, protests continued around its empty pedestal as the university made fits and starts toward a permanent solution.

In late 2018, the statewide governing board rejected a proposal overseen by then-Chancellor Carol Folt to move the statue from a main quad and build a $5 million facility for it elsewhere on campus. Weeks later, Folt ordered the removal of the base while also announcing she was stepping down as chancellor.

The Board of Governors then appointed a subcommittee to quietly work on a solution. Meanwhile, an outside investigation into the statue’s toppling found police and administrators were unprepared for the protests that brought it down. Weeks after that report, the campus police chief of more than a decade announced his retirement.

 

Comments

Leave a Comment


Send this page to a friend

Upcoming Events

read all
13

Community Vigil

Time: 5:30 p.m. Friends at Durham Congregations

14

Cinema, Cocktails & Conversation

Time: 7 p.m. Bull City Sigmas & KBDB3

14

Memorial Service

Time: 3 p.m. A memorial service for Wilhelmina

Latest News

read all

BUSINESS BRIEFS

POP-UP Africana Holiday Market Pop-up Shop is Dec. 14-15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Phoenix Event

Political fights for 2020 begin to emerge

With legal challenges to the state’s congressional and legislative maps closed, candidate

Senate passes bill to save funding for HBCUs

The Senate recently passed a bipartisan deal that would permanently restore funding to