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Chancellor Carol Folt will step down in May 2019

In the announcement, Folt said she has authorized the removal of the base of Silent Sam from McCorkle Place.

Chancellor Carol Folt

Chancellor Carol Folt attends the UNC football game against Virginina Tech on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 in Kenan Memorial Stadium. Folt announced that she will be stepping down from her position as chancellor in an email sent to the University community on Monday, Jan. 14, 2018.

Updated 1:02 a.m.: UNC Media Relations provided the following statement at 12:58 a.m. on Tuesday. 

"Due to public safety concerns, the University is currently removing the base and plaques of the Confederate Monument for storage in a secure location. We ask people to avoid the area at this time. We will have no further comment tonight."

Updated 8:05 p.m.: The UNC-System Board of Governors was not aware of Chancellor Folt's decision to resign prior to her announcement, according to a statement released by the BOG.

"We are incredibly disappointed at this intentional action. It lacks transparency and it undermines and insults the Board’s goal to operate with class and dignity," the statement said. "We strive to ensure that the appropriate stakeholders are always involved and that we are always working in a healthy and professional manner."

The statement said the Board developed a plan for determining Silent Sam's future in December, and that this still stands.

Updated 6:13 p.m.: The UNC Board of Trustees released a statement in support of Folt's decision to remove the base of the Confederate monument Silent Sam from campus, and accepted her decision to step down as chancellor. 

"The chancellor has ultimate authority over campus public safety, and we agree Chancellor Folt is acting properly to preserve campus security," the BOT statement said. "Nothing is more important than keeping our campus community and visitors as safe as possible."

Shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday, Chancellor Carol Folt announced that she will be resigning at the end of the academic year. 

During a closed session with the UNC-system Board of Governors, Folt announced her decision to step down as chancellor of UNC after six years holding the position. Furthermore, Folt authorized the removal of Silent Sam's base and tablets that remain in McCorkle Place.

As the 11th chancellor of UNC, Folt focused on large campaigns, like the Campaign for Carolina, which has raised $2.25 billion of its $4.25 billion goal and raised nearly $500 million in scholarship funds. Since taking the position in 2013, she has ushered in the largest first-year class in Carolina history, created The Blueprint for Next, a guide for Carolina's future, and helped the University surpass a record-breaking $1 billion in annual research expenditures.

"As I have reflected on all of this, I’ve decided that this is the right time for me to pass the leadership of our outstanding university, with all its momentum, to the next chancellor, and look ahead for my own 'new and next,'" Folt said in a media release.

Her resignation is coupled with her authorization to remove Confederate monument Silent Sam's base and plaques from McCorkle Place, which have stood alone since demonstrators toppled the monument on Aug. 20, 2018. In the press release, Folt cited safety as the primary concern of administration.

"The presence of the remaining parts of the monument on campus poses a continuing threat both to the personal safety and well-being of our community and to our ability to provide a stable, productive educational environment," Folt said. "The fact that despite our best efforts even since then, threats have continued to grow and place our community at serious risk has led me to authorize this action."

According to Folt, the UNC Board of Trustees has also heavily favored the decision to remove the monument and prevent its return to campus. The December report for the BOG from Folt and the BOT discusses the public safety threats to the campus as a result of the Confederate monument. While the monument base and relevant plaques will be removed from McCorkle Place, their exact fate remains undecided.

At the end of the academic year, Folt's resignation will be final. Multiple times throughout the release, Folt stressed the need to refocus on academics and student activities at UNC, free from any distraction of Silent Sam.

"Carolina’s leadership needs to return its full attention to helping our University achieve its vision and to live its values," Folt said. "And I want this semester to be exciting and fulfilling for every one of our soon-to-be graduates."

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