Rally to remove UNC’s ‘Silent Sam’ has University leaders’ attention

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Those who want a Confederate monument on UNC’s campus removed are expected to rally by the statue Tuesday evening.

The monument, known as “Silent Sam,” is located on the northern part of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus. According to UNC’s website, the North Carolina division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned the memorial in 1913 to honor the 321 UNC alumni who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Barricades have been set up around the monument as university leaders believe Tuesday evening’s demonstration could attract a large crowd.

Leaders, both from UNC and the UNC System, wrote Gov. Roy Cooper advising that depending on who shows up, there is the possibility of confrontation they are concerned that a student or bystander could be seriously injured.

People on campus are aware of this.

CBS North Carolina spoke with a UNC history professor who says he believes the statue should come down.

“Based on the fact that we have people living and working on this campus and the magnet that that monument is for groups of all sides, I think yeah it absolutely should come down,” said William Sturkey, history assistant professor.

Chapel Hill police said officers are ready and availabilityto step in and help UNC campus police deal with the situation should it be warranted Tuesday.

Cooper said UNC administrators they have the authority to remove the statue if they believe it is causing a threat to public safety.

Tuesday’s rally is expected to start at 7 p.m.

The statue was defaced multiple times in 2015 in the wake of the Charleston church shooting and Sandra Bland’s death.