December 1, 2019
UNC Will Give Silent Sam to a Confederate Group — Along With a $2.5-Million TrustBreaking News
tags: Confederate, UNC
Writer for the The Chronicle of Higher Education .
Student and faculty activists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finally received on Wednesday an assurance they’d long sought — an email from Kevin Guskiewicz, the interim chancellor, telling them that the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam “will never return to our campus.”
Yet few of those activists were satisfied. It comes down to the not-so-small matter of $2.5-million. That’s how much the university paid a group that celebrates the Confederacy to try to end the campus saga over the monument, which was torn from its pedestal by student protesters in August 2018.
The North Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a nonprofit group that has fought the removal of Confederate statues across the South, recently sued the university system and the Board of Governors. As part of a settlement announced on Wednesday, the system will deliver Silent Sam to the group — and fund a $2.5-million trust that “may only be used for certain limited expenses related to the care and preservation of the monument, including potentially a facility to house and display the monument,” according to a university statement. (The trust would not include state funds, the statement said.)
That facility won’t be on the Chapel Hill campus, nor anywhere in the 14 counties that currently include UNC campuses, according to the terms of the settlement. “This resolution,” said Randy Ramsey, chairman of the Board of Governors, in a statement, “allows the university to move forward and focus on its core mission of educating students.”
But the size of the payout, and the politics of the group receiving it, are drawing fierce criticism from students, faculty members, and alumni who had fought the monument’s presence on campus.
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