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Silent Sam has no place 'at the front door' of UNC, Folt says


UNC Chancellor Carol Folt speaks at a Feb. 13 Undergraduate Senate meeting.

In a conference call with reporters Friday, Chancellor Carol Folt said that "Silent Sam has a place in our history and on our campus where its history can be taught, but not at the front door of a safe, welcoming, proudly public research university."

Folt also said that displayed from where it was, Silent Sam was a threat to public safety.

However, Folt would not say if her comments meant that Silent Sam would not be put back on McCorkle Place.

"We have to listen to all sides and I will continue to do that," Folt said. "In the end, we're trying to find that solution with a plan and an opportunity for us to go forward."

Folt said that she respects the different views held about what the monument stands for, although the University repudiates racist commentary from Julian Carr's dedication speech for Silent Sam.

"For many, the pain and hurt that comes from that speech and from the presence at the front door of our University that they love, the monument that they associate with it is a problem they face every day," Folt said. "I also recognize that to many others, it is a memorial to fallen soldiers who were their family members. I hope that we can all appreciate there’s a big difference between commemorating the fallen and people who want restoration of white rule."

The UNC Board of Governors has issued a deadline of Nov. 15 for Folt and the Board of Trustees to develop a plan for what to do with Silent Sam. Folt expressed gratefulness for the opportunity to identify an alternative location for the monument, although she did not say whether or not it will take until the deadline to create the plan.

"I want to take whatever time we have because we have excellent ideas and we want to be able to open that door to even more ideas," Folt said. "It's not something can be done that quickly, but it's something that we know can be done in that time."

Further information about the process will likely come early next week, Folt said.

Folt also addressed Thursday night's rally, which included two deployments of pepper foggers by police and three arrests, bringing the total arrest count since the toppling of Silent Sam to 17.

"I think the police were doing everything they could possibly do in what is a very tense situation," Folt said. "When people are out there with an intention to confront, it can rapidly escalate. I think people have to be very aware of it, and the best thing we can do is keep people apart so that escalation with true damage does not take place."

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