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Silent Sam Decision Delayed Beyond May

Silent Sam

UNC System Board of Governors Chair Harry Smith said in a statement that “the monument issue will not be on our agenda for the May meeting.” (Photo by Jason D. Smith ’94)

A decision on the disposition of UNC’s Confederate monument has been delayed again.

In mid-December, the UNC System Board of Governors directed UNC’s trustees, the chancellor and top administrative staff to work with a BOG task force to find a solution to the Silent Sam issue by March 15, after the board cited financial and security concerns in rejecting the University’s proposal to place the monument in what would have been a new building on South Campus.

In March, members of the Board of Governors agreed to extending the deadline to May.

On Tuesday, BOG Chair Harry Smith said in a statement that the Board of Governors and other officials have been “focused on a number of other issues, including the legislative session, and there is nothing to report at this time. Therefore, the monument issue will not be on our agenda for the May meeting.”

Protesters pulled the Silent Sam statue off its pedestal in August 2018.

Then-Chancellor Carol L. Folt made it clear she was committed to not returning the statue to its location in McCorkle Place near Franklin Street. UNC faculty have overwhelmingly supported that position, and library administrators have asked that the statue not be placed in any University library, leaving few practical locations.

In mid-January, Folt announced her resignation simultaneously with an order that the statue’s pedestal and commemorative plaques be removed.

Kevin Guskiewicz, who became interim chancellor in early February, is on record suggesting that the statue be relocated to Bennett Place, a Civil War commemorative site in Durham. Dr. William Roper, who became interim president of the UNC System a few weeks earlier, said that position was a factor in his choice for interim.


 

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