UNC Board Of Governors Member Calls Trustees' Plan For Silent Sam 'Cowardice'

Dec 5, 2018

The pedestal of the Silent Sam statue without the Confederate monument on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

At least one member of the UNC Board of Governors says he will not support a proposal to build a new facility for a Confederate monument at UNC-Chapel Hill because he believes it should go back up in its original spot.

The statement from board member Thom Goolsby comes after trustees at UNC recommended building a new history center at a cost of $5.3 million to house the statue known as Silent Sam. Protesters pulled the monument down during a demonstration in August.

"Silent Sam should have been put back up in its place within 90 days of the outside radicals tearing it down, when our police stood down and our administration did nothing," Goolsby said in a video posted to YouTube.

Goolsby cited a state law that broadly protects Confederate monuments with some exceptions, including if they pose a threat to public safety. He claims that provision covers projects like new construction, and should not apply in this case.

"What we have now is a situation of just cowardice, where instead of putting Silent Sam back up as the law requires, they're attempting to misread the law and ask the Board of Governors to move the statue or to give approval for its removal," he said.

Those who want the statue removed from campus entirely say they also oppose the trustees' recommendation. The Board of Governors is expected to consider it at their next meeting on December 14th.