Lawsuit threatened if Silent Sam is not removed

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Police watch over a group of protestors near the Silent Sam statue during a demonstration on Thursday afternoon. 

Update, 9:03 p.m.: Joel Curran, Vice Chancellor of University Communications, released a statement saying they have received the letter and are working on addressing the questions the letter raised.

“We have received the letter and understand that for many people the Confederate Monument’s presence can engender strong emotions, and we are respectful of those emotions.  While we do not have the unilateral legal authority to move the monument, these students have raised questions about federal civil rights law that will need to be addressed, and we will work with our Board of Trustees and Board of Governors to do so. In the meantime, the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History is developing an interpretive plan for McCorkle Place that will include signage presenting historical context of how the monument was erected as part of a broader effort to tell the honest and accurate history of the University." 


Representatives of UNC Student Organizations and a lawyer representing the UNC Black Law Students Association sent a letter to Chancellor Carol Folt, UNC President Margaret Spellings, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors saying they will sue the University if they do not act on Silent Sam. 

"UNC students have offered productive suggestions for dealing with Silent Sam and we urge you to act on them," the letter said. "Should UNC fail to act, we reserve all rights to seek appropriate and immediate relief in federal court."

Attorney Hampton Dellinger sent the letter Friday on behalf of the students and Erika Wilson, professor in the UNC School of Law. In it he cites Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids racial discrimination. Dellinger claims UNC is in violation of the law.

"Because Silent Sam violates the rights guaranteed by these and other federal laws, we request that you authorize its immediate removal in order to avoid needless litigation," he wrote.

Representatives from The Campus Y, UNC Black Law Students Association and Black Student Movement, among others, signed the letter.

This story is breaking and will be updated with more information. Check back for updates. 

@asmeleah

university@dailytarheel.com

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