UNC chancellor orders removal of Confederate monument pedestal, resigns
© Getty Images

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt is ordering the removal of a pedestal that once held a Confederate monument on the university's campus. 

Folt announced the decision in a statement posted on UNC's website on Monday. The statement included an announcement that she would be resigning from her post at the end of the school year. 


“As chancellor, the safety of the UNC-Chapel Hill community is my clear, unequivocal and non-negotiable responsibility,” she wrote. “The presence of the remaining parts of the monument on campus poses a continuing threat both to the personal safety and well-being of our community and to our ability to provide a stable, productive educational environment. No one learns at their best when they feel unsafe.”

Multiple campus trustees issued a statement supporting Folt's decision to remove the pedestal that once held the "Silent Sam" Confederate statue. 
“The chancellor has ultimate authority over campus public safety, and we agree Chancellor Folt is acting properly to preserve campus security,”  vice chair Chuck Duckett, secretary Julia Grumbles and the former chair, Lowry Caudill said, according to The News & Observer
The newspaper noted that Folt has been at the center of a controversy regarding the Confederate statue, which had stood on campus since 1913 to honor students who fought for the Confederacy.
But a group of protesters toppled the monument from its pedestal last August.

The News & Observer notes that Folt had been critical of the statue's presence on campus before the protest, but had not made an effort to take it down. A 2015 North Carolina state law generally bars the removal of historic monuments from state property. 

Folt in December announced a plan to build a $5.3 million "center for history and education" to house the statue on campus, saying that public safety was one reason why the monument could not return to its previous location. 

The proposal led to student protests on campus, with one demonstrator calling for students to skip finals to show solidarity with the fight to keep "Silent Sam" off its campus.  

The Board of Governors rejected the proposal on Dec. 14 and asked for a small committee of its members to devise an alternative plan, according to The News & Observer.