UNC hears concerns about Confederate statue ‘Silent Sam’

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — It was standing room only Wednesday during a meeting with UNC Board of Trustees, Silent Sam protesters and supporters.

Nearly 30 speakers addressed the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees during a two-hour comment session on the statue known as “Silent Sam,” which stands in a main quadrangle. Most opposed the anonymous rebel soldier dedicated in 1913, but two supporters of the monument called it an important memorial.

“To relay messages of hate, violence and intolerance to oppose the creation of the nation we’re still struggling to become,” said protester OJ McGhee.

McGhee wants the statue removed, but others see things differently.

“I do not believe it expresses racism,” said Eunice Brock. She wants it to stay.

“It is truly a veteran’s monument,” she said.

The fight to have it removed continues.

On Tuesday, the UNC community marched to the statue from Chancellor Carol Folt’s office.

Folt decided to have the meeting because she feels it’s now time to reflect on what the statue means and what could happen next.

“The statue screams racism and white supremacy,” said McGhee. “In fact, it’s silence on freedom, equality and justice has been downright definite.”

“What good would it actually accomplish if it is torn down,” asked Brock. “It represents a part of history.”

Gov. Roy Cooper has called for this statue to be removed.

However, legislation says that Confederate monuments cannot be removed or relocated from public property without permission from the state’s historical commission.

CBS North Carolina reached out to board members for their thoughts on the meeting.

However, they agreed not to speak to the media, saying they were just there to listen.

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