The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill removed leftovers of the campus’s Silent Sam statue hours after the school’s chancellor announced her resignation Monday.
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt ordered for the Confederate statue’s plaque and base to be removed in her resignation letter. The Board of Trustees agreed with her decision.
“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,” Folt said in the letter. (RELATED: UNC Chapel Hill Suggests Moving Toppled Confederate Statue Inside Campus Building)
A flatbed truck, crews and a forklift were seen removing the monument overnight, according to Fox 8.
“Due to public safety concerns, the University is currently removing the base and plaques of the Confederate Monument for storage in a secure location,” according to a campus-wide message obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation from UNC Chapel Hill’s Office of University Communications . “We ask people to avoid the area at this time. We will have no further comment tonight.”
The remnants will be safely stored until the next steps are decided, Folt’s letter said.
— Kari Lynn Travis (@KariLynnTravis) January 15, 2019
The state’s Democratic governor and UNC alumnus Roy Cooper supported the removal.
“North Carolina is welcoming to all, and our public university should reflect that,” Cooper said in a statement, according to Fox 8.
The Silent Sam statue has been a point of contention for the campus community for quite some time.
Red paint and blood were thrown at the Silent Sam statue in April 2018. It was reportedly torn down by protesters in August 2018 because they believed the statue represented the state’s slave-holding history. The school spent over $390,000 defending the monument from protesters between June 2017 and June 2018.
Latest on Silent Sam protests: the statue has been smeared with red paint. University grounds crew now attempting to power wash it clean pic.twitter.com/CRmUft14uh
— Kirk A. Bado (@kirk_bado) April 30, 2018
UNC considered moving the statue to an indoor location even though Folt and trustee members wanted the monument off-campus. But a 2015 state law required the statue to remain on campus, according to The Associated Press.
Folt will step down after graduation on May 12.
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