UNC-Chapel Hill Interim Chancellor sends letter expressing concern over Silent Sam statue settlement

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- UNC-Chapel Hill Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz sent a letter to the UNC Interim President and UNC Board of Governors Chair on Wednesday, expressing concern about the legal settlement reached for the disposition of the Silent Sam statue.

This comes after The University of North Carolina System announced the settlement last week. Under the terms of the consent judgment in the lawsuit brought by the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. (SCV), the Confederate statue will be turned over to the SCV.

"The safety and security concerns expressed by students, faculty and staff are genuine, and we believe this consent judgment not only addresses those concerns but does what is best for the university, and the university community in full compliance with North Carolina law," said Jim Holmes, member of the UNC Board of Governors, after the settlement was reached.

But Guskiewicz made clear on Wednesday that he disagrees.

"There are a range of emotions and many people are struggling," Guskiewicz said in the letter.

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE

"I am particularly concerned with recently published post-settlement comments from the SCV regarding how the organization may seek to use funds from the charitable trust, including plans to promote an unsupportable understanding of history that is at-odds with well-sourced, factual, and accurate accounts of responsible scholars," he wrote. "These comments, along with various aspects of the settlement, particularly the requirement that UNC-Chapel Hill reimburse the UNC System for the payment of the funds to the trust, have led to concerns and opposition from many corners of our campus."

Full coverage of the Silent Sam issue

The court-approved resolution of the case means:
  • SCV owns all rights, title, and interests in the monument;
  • UNC will turn over possession of the monument to SCV;
  • SCV will forever maintain possession of the monument outside any of the fourteen counties currently containing a UNC System constituent institution;
  • Using non-state funds, the University will fund a charitable trust to be held independently by a non-party trustee in the amount of $2,500,000, the proceeds of which 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
  • This resolution complies with existing North Carolina law, including the monuments law as provided in Chapter 100 of the North Carolina General Statutes.


"We have been involved in ongoing negotiations and collaboration to achieve this outcome and we believe it is a fair result," said R. Kevin Stone, Commander of the NCSCV in a statement.

The SCV sued the University of North Carolina System and the Board of Governors concerning the disposition of the monument.

"This resolution allows the University to move forward and focus on its core mission of educating students," UNC Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey said.

On Aug. 20, 2018, student protesters toppled Silent Sam, knocking the statue to the ground, kicking it and tossing dirt on top of it.

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Watch: Silent Sam statue comes crashing down. Courtesy of our newsgathering partners the News and Observer.



The Confederate statue was built in 1913 and dedicated to the UNC students and faculty who left school to fight in the Civil War for the Confederacy.
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