UNC System declines Cooper's offer to get Silent Sam on agenda for removal

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Organizers of a protest against Silent Sam are calling for a boycott on businesses that the university profits from.

On the pedestal of UNC's contentious Confederate monument, leaders of UNC's anti-Silent Sam movement strategized their next steps. All while a big day looms on this week's calendar.

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The state's Historic Commission, the only state body with the power to remove Confederate monuments, is set to meet. And while the panel will vote on whether to relocate three Civil War-era monuments off the State Capitol grounds in Raleigh, the commission said Silent Sam is not on the agenda and will not be discussed.

"We were hoping with the boycott and the attention the statue is getting now, they would push for it. So we're honestly shocked that it's not on there," said UNC student activist Michelle Brown whose group has been publicly pressuring UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and Gov. Roy Cooper to have the agenda amended to add Silent Sam.

SURPRISING ANSWER

Given the tense controversies over the statue this semester, why is Silent Sam not on the commission's agenda? The governor's office delivered a surprising response.

"(Gov. Cooper's) office reached out to UNC System to see if they wanted Silent Sam included on the (Department of Administration's) petition to the Historical Commission. They let us know they did not wish to at the time," said Cooper's Communications Director, Ford Porter.

"I'm shocked that the UNC System wouldn't (accept the governor's offer). I believe if the University of Chapel Hill had been asked, the chancellor would've taken the opportunity," Brown said distinguishing between the UNC System led by Margaret Spellings and the university led by Chancellor Folt.

ABC11 reached out to both the system and the university for comment. UNC System spokesperson Josh Ellis did not address our question of why the system declined the governor's offer. But Ellis says system officials will be closely monitoring Friday's proceedings to see how the commission evaluates these decisions on removing Confederate monuments.

Ellis said he believes this is the first such hearing since the commission was given monument power in a 2015 law passed by the state legislature.

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR UNC BOYCOTT

In the meantime, activists on campus are trying to hit the university where it hurts: its pockets. They've organized a campus-wide boycott asking classmates not to spend money on commercial goods that the university profits from.

READ MORE: UNC students boycott campus store following Silent Sam protests

Related Topics:
politicsuncboycottprotestconfederate monumentconfederacyroy cooperChapel HillOrange County
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