Silent Sam

A massive pile of debris sits outside of town on Ocracoke Island as cleanup efforts continue a month after Hurricane Dorian. All of the waste must be collected and then loaded into trucks before being transported off the island by boat.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

As the year comes to a close, we take a look at some of the photos that helped tell the story of 2019. From hurricanes to controversy over confederate monuments and a deadly gas explosion, here are the moments – big and small – that shaped the year in North Carolina news.

Silent Sam monument on UNC Chapel Hill's Campus
Matt Couch / WUNC

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors violated the state's open meetings laws by secretly negotiating and approving a deal to dispose of a Confederate monument from the campus of the system's flagship school, according to a lawsuit filed by a student newspaper.

Silent Sam on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus is a controversial Confederate symbol.
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated at 2:45 p.m.

A Superior Court judge will reconsider the $2.5 million settlement between the UNC System and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The judge's decision today was a small victory for the UNC Chapel Hill students and professor who sought to overturn the settlement.

Confederate Flag, Orange County, Silent Sam
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The University of North Carolina System agreed to give the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans $74,999 in exchange for the group keeping Confederate symbols off public university campuses.

The statue before activists toppled it.
Don McCullough / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/fvHbD4

New documents released from the University of North Carolina System reveal some of what happened behind closed doors as UNC Board of Governors negotiated its $2.5 million settlement with the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans over the controversial Silent Sam statue.

A mostly unoccupied meeting room. The full UNC Board of Governors, and committees, met on the telephone on Dec. 12 and 13.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

At the very end of the Friday, Nov. 15th UNC Board of Governors meeting, Chairman Randy Ramsey made the kind of logistical announcement almost no one notices.

Opinion: A Lawful And Lasting Path That Ensures The Monument Never Returns To Campus.

Dec 16, 2019
Silent Sam Confederate memorial at UNC Chapel Hill
Don McCullough / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/fvHbD4

This opinion letter was written by University of North Carolina System Board of Governors members Jim Holmes, Darrell Allison, Wendy Murphy, Anna Nelson & Bob Rucho. It first appeared in The News & Observer. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Rematches are shaping up for 2020 in some North Carolina legislative districts, while dozens of seats are still unopposed with a week to go for candidate filing. 

A new study came out saying the state needs to drastically increase spending on public schools — maybe by as much as $8 billion over eight years. 

The University of North Carolina agreed to give the Sons of Confederate Veterans the felled "Silent Sam" statue along with $2.5 million for upkeep. Now a civil rights law firm is going to court to try to block the settlement. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch recap the week in state politics from the right and the left. 
 


Liz Schlemmer

UNC-Chapel Hill students demonstrated in the rain outside a nearly empty board room Friday to show their discontent with the UNC System Board of Governors’ decision to give a neo-Confederate group $2.5 million to preserve the Silent Sam monument. None of the members of the Board of Governors were physically present at their December meeting to hear the students’ chants.

BRIAN BATISTA / FOR WUNC

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted today to make Kevin M. Guskiewicz the permanent chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill. Guskiewicz had been serving as interim chancellor since Carol Folt resigned from the position in February. This appointment comes amidst ongoing controversy over the BOG decision to hand over ownership of Silent Sam and a $2.5 million trust to the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans.  

Image of Kevin Guskiewicz
Courtesy UNC Office of the Chancellor

The University of  North Carolina Board of Governors voted today for Interim UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to step into the role permanently. 

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

  A national civil rights group has warned the leaders of the University of North Carolina that they should reconsider a $2.5 million settlement involving a statue of a Confederate soldier that protesters toppled last year at the system’s flagship campus.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faced criticism this week for its decision to pay the Sons of Confederate Veterans $2.5 million, and hand over the Confederate monument Silent Sam which was erected during the Jim Crow era and loomed over the school’s campus until it was toppled in August, 2018.

Will Michaels / WUNC

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors is giving the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans $2.5 million to preserve a Confederate monument that once stood on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill.

Sign in front of the confederate monument Silent Sam that reads, 'HANDS OFF SAM.'
Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

The North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans are now the official owners of the controversial Silent Sam statue that once stood on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Matt Couch / WUNC

The Confederate statue known as Silent Sam will never again stand on a UNC campus, according to a consent order handed down today by a state court.

UNC students and members of the Chapel Hill community celebrated the anniversary of Silent Sam's fall on Tuesday, August 20, 2019.
Josie Taris / WUNC

UNC students and members of the Chapel Hill community celebrated the anniversary of Silent Sam's fall Tuesday evening.

The Toppling Of Silent Sam: One Year Later

Aug 20, 2019
The base of the Silent Sam statue stands surrounding by a fence.
Alex Foyler

The future of Silent Sam still remains uncertain. The Confederate statue has been stored in a secret location since its toppling last fall, and the UNC System Board of Governors has indefinitely postponed making a decision about its future.

A patch of new grass shows where the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam once stood.
Will Michaels / WUNC

On August 20, 2018, protesters toppled the Confederate monument at UNC-Chapel Hill known as Silent Sam.

One year later, the fate of the statue is still unclear, and questions remain about how the university should reckon with the issues of race that Silent Sam brought to the foreground.

UNC Police chief Jeff B. McCracken
UNC

The police chief at North Carolina's flagship public university is retiring after an investigation found campus police were unprepared for demonstrators who tore down a Confederate memorial last summer.

Police guard the pedestal where the Silent Sam statue once stood on UNC's campus during a protest on Dec. 3, 2018.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Leadership of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are close to finalizing the roster of a new campus safety committee.

Carol Folt
unc.edu

The new president of the University of Southern California said she wants to be a part of "fixing" the school following a series of high-profile scandals including the massive college admissions bribery case that broke last week.

A sign in support of the Silent Sam statue rests near the monument on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 as hundreds of protesters gathered in opposition of the statue.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The board governing North Carolina's public universities is giving itself more time to decide the fate of a Confederate statue toppled by protesters.

Lisa Philip / WUNC

UNC-Chapel Hill’s new leader has denounced yearbook photos from the 1970s depicting fraternity members from the university dressed in blackface. The photos surfaced yesterday and have since caused outrage on social media.

A photo take on December 2, 2018 shows barricades surrounding the pedestal where the Silent Sam statue once stood.
Alex Kolyer / For WUNC

An investigation finds police and administrators at North Carolina's flagship public university were unprepared for demonstrators who tore down a campus Confederate memorial, but likely didn't conspire on the statue's removal.

Lisa Philip / WUNC

Carol Folt steps down today as chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill, a role she's held for six years. Her replacement has not yet been announced.

A photo take on December 2, 2018 shows barricades surrounding the pedestal where the Silent Sam statue once stood.
Alex Kolyer / For WUNC

As Silent Sam – and its remnants – sit in an undisclosed location somewhere on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, a small group of people are working behind the scenes to determine its future.

UNC Trustees
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Despite a second long, closed-door meeting in the span of a few days, the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees has yet to announce the selection of an interim chancellor.

Activists gathered in downtown Chapel Hill on Jan. 15, 2019 to celebrate the removal of the Silent Sam pedestal.
Lisa Philip / WUNC

Activists gathered Tuesday night for what they called a victory party across the street from the now-empty ground on which the Confederate statue known as "Silent Sam" once stood. Attendees chatted over free pizza and Kendrick Lamar’s "Humble."

Graduate student Lindsay Ayling speaks to a couple dozens activists about outgoing Chancellor Carol Folt's decision to remove the Silent Sam pedestal from campus.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt will leave her post at the end of the month. In a university wide email on Monday, she first announced she would leave this spring. But after the UNC Board of Governors called an emergency meeting, the board moved up her resignation to January 31.

Folt’s tenure came amidst an ongoing battle over Silent Sam, the Confederate monument in McCorkle Place that was torn down by protesters in August. 

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