Chancellor Carol Folt announced her resignation and authorized the removal of Silent Sam in an email to the UNC community on Jan. 14. Later that night, Silent Sam's plaques and the remaining base were removed from McCorkle Place. Folt originally intended to resign following May 2019 commencement; however the UNC Board of Governors voted Tuesday to make Folt's resignation date effective Jan. 31.
Staff writer Arabella Saunders asked UNC students what they thought about Folt stepping down from her position, and what it means for the University.
“I think it was unexpected, but I really appreciate the Chancellor’s move to step down. I think it was quite a stand, a sort of a mic-drop moment for Chancellor Folt to authorize the removal and announce her resignation in the same letter. It sort of highlighted the impossibility of her situation. There were really no good moves to make, but I think she did make the best move given the circumstances."
Jabati said he disagrees with the Board of Governors decision to move Folt’s resignation date from May commencement to Jan. 31 and believes it would benefit the student body if Folt had until the end of the semester to transition out of her role as chancellor.
Junior biology and psychology major
“I feel sort of ambivalent about it, meaning not strong positives or strong negatives. I think that she was good and did a lot of good things for the University that people tend to overlook, so that makes me sad."
Wilson said she is worried that Folt’s replacement will have more conservative values, a position she believes does not accurately reflect the student body.
First-year advertising major
“I definitely think that we all knew that some change was coming, and there was a general attitude of dislike toward Chancellor Folt, but I definitely didn't expect her to resign this soon. I think the one thing that’s gonna make it different is the students are going to perhaps get accustomed to a new way of doing things. In all honesty, I don't know exactly how Chancellor Folt's actions have impacted me on a day-to-day basis, but it definitely could change as we get a new chancellor."
Junior biology major
“I feel like it's a little sudden, but with all the Silent Sam stuff that's been going on, I guess it makes sense that she wasn’t totally happy with the way things were going. I guess she just decided to take a different path."
First-year business major
“I understand why (she announced her resignation). I would not want to be in that insanely stressful, backlash-ridden situation either. At the same time, I kind of feel like it’s running away from the issues, but I understand it’s a very liberal campus, and she has a conservative Board of Directors, so there’s that discrepancy, as well. Overall, I hope whoever the next chancellor is can stick with those issues and not back down from them.”
Senior journalism major
“I was really surprised. It all seems so sudden. I think it will be really interesting to see who comes next, to see what the next year is like and if they’ll put in an interim person or hire someone right away. I’m guessing the protests will decrease.”