A memorial honoring the slaves who helped build the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill was defaced over the weekend with urine and racial slurs, the university confirmed.

Kevin Guskiewicz, the campus’s interim chancellor, said in a statement that the memorial, called the Unsung Founders Memorial, was defaced by two people at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. 

One of individuals identified on surveillance footage has been linked to a group called Heirs to the Confederacy, Guskiewicz said.


“These events challenge not only our most fundamental community values, but also the safety of our campus,” he added.

The university police said in reports reviewed by The Hill that the memorial was defaced with both urine and racist messages that were written in permanent marker. 

The report comes several months after UNC protesters brought down a controversial monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers, known as Silent Sam. The monument was built on the Chapel Hill campus in the early 1900s but emerged as a source of tension in recent years from many who viewed the statue as a symbol of white supremacy.

According to The New York Times, the Heirs to the Confederacy had organized events in support of the Confederate monument in the past.

Lance Spivey, the chairman of the group, told the Times that he will be looking into the school’s allegations regarding the vandalism of the Unsung Founders Memorial.

Spivey confirmed that at least two members of the group were on campus on Saturday night but said that he has not yet received any information suggesting that those members were involved.

Spivey said if those members did deface the memorial that they were operating in a “renegade capacity” and added that his group would take “whatever punitive measures it deems necessary” if the university’s allegations are proved to be true.