Confederate statue "Silent Sam" to remain off UNC campus under legal settlement

By Peter Martinez

/ CBS News

Confederate statues stored in secret locations

A torn-down Confederate monument named "Silent Sam" won't be allowed to return to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and must be surrendered to a group of Confederate descendants, according to a legal agreement announced Wednesday. In the agreement, the North Carolina Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) will own all rights, title and interests in the monument, CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN-TV reports.

R. Kevin Stone, commander of the SCV's North Carolina division, issued a statement to The Associated Press that said the group was happy to secure ownership of the statue.

"We have been involved in ongoing negotiations and collaboration to achieve this outcome and we believe it is a fair result," he said.

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The University of North Carolina System issued a statement which said the settlement will keep Silent Sam outside of the 14 counties where university system campuses are located. The school also noted the agreement complies with existing North Carolina law that restricts the removal of Confederate monuments.

Silent Sam had stood on UNC-Chapel Hill's main quad atop a pedestal for 105 years, according to WNCN-TV. The statue was toppled during on-campus protests in August 2018. At the time, demonstrators said it was a symbol of racism.

silent-sam-pedestal-removal-unc-chapel-hill-campus-011519.jpg
Crew removes pedestal of controversial Confederate statue of "Silent Sam" from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus early January 15, 2018. WNCN-TV

"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," Jim Holmes, a member of the UNC Board of Governors, said in a statement to AP.

A request for a copy of the legal settlement wasn't immediately made available and details about where Silent Sam would ultimately end up weren't provided by SCV.

"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.

Wednesday's legal settlement ends a long legal debate among the UNC community about Confederate monuments and whether they belong on school campuses. Protests hit a fever pitch in the aftermath of a white supremacist rally in Virginia in 2017 where an avowed white supremacist deliberately drove his car through a crowd, injuring dozens and fatally striking a woman.

First published on November 27, 2019 / 5:08 PM

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