CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The UNC Board of Trustees has presented their proposal for what should happen to the Silent Sam statue at UNC-Chapel Hill.
- UNC Board of Trustee members are suggesting Silent Sam be put in a "History and Education" Center on campus.
- They say this is within the confines of the law, because, they say, it cannot be preserved outside.
- View a history of the controversy here.
Chancellor Carol Folt said after taking into consideration state laws, zoning requirements, public safety, university liability, and freedom of speech, it is the opinion of the Board of Trustees that the statue should not return to its previous site.
Rather, Folt says, the statue should be placed in a newly constructed "History and Education" Center, set to be built on campus at Odum Village.
The center would take steps to assure the public has access to the statue, while also taking steps to "preserve and contextualize" it.
The center would cost just over $5 million to build and $800,000 annually to operate it, both Folt saying she doesn't know yet where the university will get that money.
Folt also mentioned that it would be the board's preference to put the statue at an off-campus location, but that would be illegal.
This suggestion will now go to the Board of Governors.
In recent years, as many Civil War monuments across the country have been removed, there have been calls to remove Sam from the campus. On multiple occasions, the monument was even vandalized.
In August of 2018, the day before classes were set to start for the fall semester, protesters gathered around the statue and pulled it down.
Those in favor of putting it back argue that the statue does not represent racist ideals, and at the very least it was not removed through proper channels. Many argue that it should be put back while officials decide whether or not it should be there.
Those in favor of leaving it down argue that it represents racism and pro-slavery ideals. A popular argument for this stance is that, while the statue was not removed through proper channels, the process of deciding whether or not to remove it was moving unacceptably slow.
The statue has been kept in an undisclosed location since August.
A demonstration in response to the recommendation is planned in downtown Chapel Hill Monday night at 7 at Peace and Justice Plaza.