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Thursday March 23rd

BOG member Thom Goolsby chastises Silent Sam plan a week before he casts his vote

<p>UNC-system Board of Governors member and former N.C. state senator Thom Goolsby speaks to a reporter in the C.D. Spangler Building in Chapel Hill&nbsp;on Friday.</p>
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UNC-system Board of Governors member and former N.C. state senator Thom Goolsby speaks to a reporter in the C.D. Spangler Building in Chapel Hill on Friday.

From a webcam in his office, Thom Goolsby, a member of the UNC-system Board of Governors, chastised UNC administration in a three-minute video, calling their Silent Sam relocation proposal cowardly and illegal.  

“If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to anyone,” he said.

The video included the phone number for the North Carolina General Assembly, and a heeding from Goolsby for viewers to demand their representatives to stop UNC in its relocation of Silent Sam.

“Instead of putting Silent Sam back up as the law requires, they're attempting to misread the law,” he said, “and ask the Board of Governors to move the statue or give approval for its removal.”

Goolsby referenced a clause in North Carolina's Heritage Protection Act of 2015 dealing with objects of remembrance, specifically the exceptions permitting their movement: “An object of remembrance for which a building inspector or similar official has determined poses a threat to public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition,” reads one of the exceptions. 

Goolsby has discussed the Heritage Protection Act in the past.  On Aug. 23, three days after Silent Sam was toppled, he released a video about the law, titled "Silent Sam Will Be Reinstalled as Required by State Law." 

In that video, he referred to a section of the act that states "an object of remembrance that is temporarily relocated shall be returned to its original location within 90 days of completion of the project that required its temporary removal."

In his December video, he said UNC’s attempt to invoke the argument that the statue creates a dangerous condition is a misreading of the law.

“That is a safety concern based upon perhaps a new road, maybe problems with the ground, any number of things,” he said. “It is not outside radicals coming on your campus, destroying property.”

Goolsby said by now, Silent Sam should’ve already been returned to its pedestal. 

“It should've already been done, but for the fact that there’s only two people in the country apparently that can repair the statue, and they can’t start on it until January 2019,” he said in his December video. 

The video ended with a still shot of a Martin Luther King quote: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

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