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Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Responds to UNC Board of Governors False Claims

by December 18, 2019

The Confederate statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus known as ‘Silent Sam’ was a point of friction and protest long before becoming part of the national conversation. Here’s a look at the monument’s history.

Chapel Hill, NC– Following the filings from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the UNC Board of Governors responded with false claims that the institution had two options, to either settle with the pro-confederate group or return the statue to campus. At its core this is about UNC diverting $2.5 million dollars away from the mission of educating its students and into the pockets of a white supremacist organization. Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights had this to say:

The BOG’s statement presents the false choice of giving the monument and $2.5 million to a pro-Confederate group or having the monument back on UNC’s campus. Neither North Carolina’s Monuments Act nor any other law requires the monument to be returned to campus. It is a public safety hazard, as the BOG acknowledges, and the Monuments Act explicitly exempts such hazards from its requirements. The Governor of North Carolina previously informed the BOG that the Monuments Act did not require the return of the monument to campus. As established by correspondence between Gov. Cooper and the University in 2017 (linked here) the BOG and UNC could have removed the monument from campus years ago, when it became a threat to public safety. They chose not to. Instead, they chose to pursue an unlawful bargain with a pro-Confederacy group for the monument’s continued display and for the group’s efforts to be funded by $2.5 million from the University. That bargain must be rescinded and UNC’s property returned to the University so that it can be used to further the education of its students. Neither the BOG nor UNC is acting to protect the interests of students, faculty or the University community in this matter, so the students and the faculty member whom the Lawyers’ Committee represents have asked the court to intervene so that they may protect those interests.  We look forward to the hearing before the court on Friday, when the process to set aside the BOG’s misguided and unlawful bargain can begin.

A copy of the Lawyers’ Committee filings can be found below:

A copy of the motion to intervene , motion to set aside the consent judgment , and motion to dismiss can be found here

About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

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