Mere hours after University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol C. Folt announced her plans to resign, the last vestiges of the campus’ controversial Confederate statue were removed by school officials and placed in a “secure location,” according to the university.
According to CNN, the statue’s base and commemorative plaques were removed either late Monday or early Tuesday. The outgoing chancellor, who announced she would be stepping down from her post at the end of the semester, tweeted early this morning that the removal was “the right decision for our community.”
The statue, commonly referred to as Silent Sam, sparked fierce debate for years—the monument, built at the request of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, commemorates Confederate soldiers who lost their lives. To many UNC students, particularly those of color, the 105-year-old statue served as a stark reminder of the school’s historic and ongoing ties to white supremacy.
In August, students and protesters toppled the statue, though its base, which bears a bronze relief of an angel imploring students to abandon their studies and fight for the South, remained on the campus as UNC officials debated what to do with the remains.
The UNC school systems’ board of governors rejected a $5.3 million proposal to construct a new home for Silent Sam last month, writes USA Today, though they also pledged to produce a new plan to accommodate the Confederate monument.
In light of Folt’s decision to tear down the statue’s remnants, board chairman Harry Smith spoke on behalf of the group—and all well-intentioned Confederate apologists everywhere, it seems.
“We are incredibly disappointed at this intentional action,” Smith said in the statement (h/t Slate). “It lacks transparency and it undermines and insults the board’s goal to operate with class and dignity.”
Dignity, here, seems to hinge almost entirely on how much one can appease racists and Confederate sympathizers while doing...absolutely nothing.
Smith vowed to work “tirelessly and collaboratively with all relevant parties” to chart the best way forward for the university.
“We will do so with proper governance and oversight in a way that respects all constituencies and diverse views on this issue,” he said.