UNC released a statement Tuesday saying the University would not follow Gov. Roy Cooper's advice to remove Silent Sam.
"Despite how it is being interpreted in the media, the University has not been given the clear legal authority to act unilaterally," the statement said.
The governor wrote a letter Monday, citing a loophole in a 2015 law which prohibits state-owned monuments from being taken down.
Cooper said the law allows "building inspectors or similar officials to take steps in the interest of 'avoiding threats to public safety.'"
The University said the cited provision concludes that "physical disrepair of a statue threatens public safety," which is not the current situation.