The University of North Carolina Board of Governors has decreed that the Confederate statue known as “Silent Sam” must be re-installed within 90 days. CBS reported the news, which was delivered by UNC Board member Thom Goolsby. Goolsby declared on his Twitter and YouTube accounts that the statue would be put back up.
“Criminals who destroyed state property at UNC and police who did nothing will be held accountable,” Goolsby wrote.
The statue was torn down by protesters on campus on Monday night, and charges have been filed against three individuals. The “Silent Sam” statue features a Confederate solider who is carrying a rifle, but no ammunition. Hence, he is known as silent. Many Confederate statues have become the focus of protests and vandalism nationwide as citizens object to the racially tense history of the Confederacy. The Confederacy fought to keep slavery legal during the Civil War, and many feel that statues, memorials, and flags representing the now-defunct collaborative body are really representing white supremacist beliefs.
The statue is currently in a safe, undisclosed location, according to university officials.
“Well, right now, it is being evaluated, and it is in a safe and secure location,” Vice Chancellor of Communications Joel Curran said. “That is what we believe is the best process at this time.”
Currently, the SBI and the UNC police are investigating the events that occurred during the protest that allowed the statue to be removed. Goolsby claimed on his Twitter account that officers did not act to prevent the statue from being torn down.
The UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC System made a joint statement that said at no time were officers told to allow the statue to be removed.
The state historical commission actually had just voted the day before the protest to allow Confederate statues and monuments to remain on public grounds. Goolsby, who also served as a state senator from 2011-2014, enforced that choice in a YouTube video.
“We will make sure the laws of our state are enforced,” Goolsby said in a YouTube video. “We will not allow anarchy to reign on our campuses.”
UNC urged students not to attend an upcoming rally scheduled for Saturday, likely fearing more damages to the campus or potential issues with crowd control. The school also said they support free speech and are working with town officials to ensure the safety of the community.
Silent Sam was commissioned in 1913 by the Daughters of the Confederacy and is intended to honor the 321 UNC students who died in the Civil War fighting for the Confederacy.