The chancellor of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill said Monday that she cannot unilaterally decide to remove an on-campus statue of a Confederate soldier, despite repeated calls for her to take immediate action.
Carol Folt told a meeting of the Faculty Executive Committee that the wider university community, including the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees, must be involved in any decisions regarding the statue known as “Silent Sam,” student paper the Daily Tarheel reported.
Folt also reportedly noted that she would not make unequivocal statements about the issue, as “quite frankly I don’t think that we have had the conversation as a university about the value of historical monuments.”
Folt said the university would soon be releasing a document addressing a number of common misconceptions about the process required for the statue’s removal.
She has previously said that UNC does not have “clear legal authority” on the issue.
An anti-Silent Sam rally was held near the memorial on Aug. 22, as a handful of counter-protesters stood nearby waving Confederate flags.
Prior to the event, UNC’s chancellor, vice chancellor for student affairs, and chief of police released a statement to “encourage students not to attend the rally,” given the “very real possibility for confrontation with outside groups.”
At Monday’s meeting, Folt was slammed for those remarks and for not attending the rally. One professor at the meeting called on the chancellor to show “moral, ethical” leadership.
UNC refused a Washington Free Beacon request for an interview with the chancellor.
Following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month, which resulted in the death of a counter-protester, officials at universities and public parks have been removing memorials honoring the Confederacy, as well as other long-term fixtures of their institutions that have been deemed offensive.
Duke University removed a state of Robert E. Lee from its chapel, but said it has plans to preserve it in some way as a symbol of the institutions past. Similarly, Bowdoin College has moved a plaque commemorating alumni who fought for the Confederacy into its archives.
The University of Texas-Austin is being sued by a group called Sons of Confederate Veterans for removing statues of Lee and three other figures from a main area of the campus.
Yale University has decided to take down an 88-year-old decorative carving of a Native American and a Puritan, both armed, deeming it a depiction of “colonial violence.” Previously, administrators’ found a fix in placing a removable cover on the Puritan’s gun, leaving the Native American’s bow exposed.
Meanwhile, the University of Maryland announced this week that its marching band would no longer play the state song as part of its football pre-game show. The tune, “Maryland, My Maryland,” was used by Confederate soldiers as a battle hymn and its lyrics slam “Northern scum.”
Days earlier, the University of Illinois decided to ban from its sporting events the playing of a drumming beat some thought to be an “appropriation” of a stereotypical Native American “war chant.”
(via: Washington Free Beacon)