A counter-rally, called Unify UNC, was held on the steps the South Building.
Rally underway @UNC in counter protest to white nationalist ideals. So far. Students tell me White Nationalists are protesting by the #SilentSam #ConfederateSatute on campus. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/zYyfEewjWZ— Tim Pulliam (@TimABC11) February 21, 2018
The university has been in the spotlight for its "Silent Sam" Confederate Monument statue. The statute has been a polarizing issue for the institution, as some students and activists want it removed, versus supporters who want the stone figure to remain.
Joanne Peters, a UNC-Chapel Hill spokesperson tells ABC11 that the school has not been able to confirm that the "Rally for Nationalism" will take place. "Typically we would be able to find some information to confirm such an event, if it were actually going to happen," said Peters.
Images from the Unify UNC counter protest to white supremacy groups. No sign of those groups on campus. Police standing off at a distance. Students call out Chancellor Folt. They say she lacks leadership in taking down #SilentSam #Confederate statute #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/llFAliFacF— Tim Pulliam (@TimABC11) February 21, 2018
The language is very colorful at this protest @UNC . Lots of F-bombs and S-words. Folks mad. In addition to the #confederate statute concern, they demand diversity and inclusion in staff and students. This student screams “Hire some Black faculty. Make them tenure!” #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/jDHv3189zg— Tim Pulliam (@TimABC11) February 21, 2018
Kevin Guskiewicz, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences wrote the following statement to fellow deans, directors and department chairs:
"As a public university, we regularly have demonstrations from groups exercising their First Amendment rights, and our police officers are always prepared to ensure that those demonstrations transpire in a safe manner and do not disrupt our university operations.
This proposed rally and counter-protest follow an incident that occurred last week in which a faculty member was confronted by individuals claiming to be members of the press. He then called UNC Police, who responded; the individuals left without further altercation. UNC Police have been working with the faculty member and department personnel since the incident.
We have not been able to confirm that a rally will actually take place tomorrow, but we are taking precautions to ensure the safety of our campus community. While we don't discuss details of the steps UNC Police take to protect the safety of the campus community, it's important for students, faculty and staff to know that we have appropriate resources available.
We also hope that people will continue with their normal activities. However, if any individual on our campus feels their safety is threatened at any time, we encourage them to contact UNC Police by calling 911 immediately so that we can provide appropriate public safety measures."