UNC board member calls for Confederate statue to be reinstalled on campus after protesters tear it down

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A board member at the University of North Carolina is calling for a Confederate statue to be promptly reinstalled on the Chapel Hill campus after it was toppled by protesters earlier this month.

Citing state law on monuments and memorials, UNC Board of Governors member Thom Goolsby said in a YouTube video that the well-known “Silent Sam” monument will be placed back on campus within 90 days.

“A statue was torn down by a violent mob and the police stood by and did nothing as that happened,” Goolsby said of the Aug. 20 incident.

He said that the university’s board is investigating and working with school officials to ensure that the “perpetrators are punished, that judgement is sought for their felonious criminal acts.”

Masked protestors calling for “a world without white supremacy” previously brought the statue down and buried the statue’s head in the dirt. Police later created a barrier around the empty pedestal and three arrest warrants have been issued, according to the local WRAL. The university said it is investigating the incident.

The statute that Goolsby referenced says that “objects of remembrance” must be placed back in their original location after 90 days if they are removed temporarily for a project. The law bars the removal of monuments located on public property.

“We will make sure that the laws of our state are enforced,” Goolsby said. “We will not allow anarchy to reign on our campuses.”

The “Silent Sam” toppling is one of a number of incidents of vandalism or protest on Confederate monuments in North Carolina. The fate of the statues has been a hot topic in the state in the year since the violent Unite the Right rally in nearby Charlottesville, Va.

A North Carolina Historical Commission voted last week to keep three Confederate monuments on the grounds of the state Capitol building, but voted to add context about slavery and civil rights, and called for an additional monument to be built honoring African-Americans’ contributions to the state.


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