Hundreds protest UNC proposal to house Confederate statue in $5 million building

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Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Monday night to protest the university’s proposal to construct a new building to house a Confederate monument on campus. 

Footage of the protests shared by UNC’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, showed dozens of individuals chanting and holding signs as they make their way towards campus. 

Protestors can be heard chanting “who do you protect, who do you serve” near a barricaded area that had once been the home of the Confederate statue, “Silent Sam.”

The statue had stood on campus since it was erected in 1913 to honor students who fought for the Confederacy. But a group of protestors toppled the monument from its pedestal in August.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt on Monday announced a proposed plan to build a $5.3 million “center for history and education” to house the statue on campus, according to WITN, a local news affiliate. 

“It was very clear; public safety alone would make it impossible to return it to its base or any outdoor location on our campus,” Folt said. “We developed a plan, most important to me, that I believe could be successfully safe, that I believe could actually be based, at its core, on education.”

WITN estimated that a “couple hundred” protested the proposal on campus just hours after Folt announced the recommendation. The news outlet noted that multiple African-American speakers decried the plan as one that continues to tolerate racism.

One speaker reportedly called for faculty to withhold grades and for students to skip finals to show solidarity with the fight to keep “Silent Sam” off its campus. 

The UNC Board of Governors is slated to review the proposal for “Silent Sam” on Dec. 14. 

A 2015 North Carolina state law generally bars the removal of historic monuments from state property, according to The News & Observer. Though it does allow for limited relocation on the same property.

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