In an email to The Daily Tar Heel, UNC Department of Public Safety spokesperson Randy Young said that UNC Police had not had any engagement with Trunick. When asked for an interview, Trunick did not respond by the time of publication.
Trunick remained seated on the floor of Woollen Gym, appearing to be alone, for the entirety of his livestreams last Tuesday, occasionally switching the camera from his face to students playing basketball in front of him. UNC Campus Recreation guidelines would have required him to be an approved guest for entry into the facility.
During the streams, Trunick responded to some comments made in real time.
“When they gonna lynch (Maya) Little?” asked a commenter named George Johnson, a reference to the Black graduate student who has been a major voice in activism against Silent Sam. When Trunick appeared to notice Johnson’s comment during the video, he laughed and said he didn’t know. Johnson soon made another comment, writing, “Burn that bitch at the stake.”
Johnson leads the Memphis-based group Confederate 901. The group claimed credit earlier this year for stealing a plaque made by student activists, which honored the Black woman who Julian Carr described whipping in his speech at Silent Sam’s unveiling. Johnson made other comments during the stream, such as, “I hope the commies find the gift I left them,” and “Kill the commies.”
A commenter named Debbie Davis Reyes wrote, “We got Louisiana, Texas and Virginia watching,” adding Mississippi to her list in a following comment. McCorkle made her own comment under the profile name Nancy Rushton, which has her middle name in place of her last. McCorkle wrote, “Never back down God bless Dixie.”
The stream concluded with Trunick staring at the camera before saluting it.
‘If I could find them’
Trunick’s stream the previous Tuesday included more activity.
For over 40 minutes, he and two other men wandered campus in areas surrounding McCorkle Place. They made multiple visits to the Unsung Founders Memorial, which is dedicated to the enslaved people who built UNC, where Trunick repeatedly referred to it as “theirs."
At one point in the video, as Trunick held the camera on the Unsung Founders Memorial, he called it “so f***ing damn stupid” and said, “This shit is pissing me the f*** off.”
As the group continued walking campus, Trunick said that it was “looking dead out here.” Johnson commented, “Gotta go punch a commie for me,” one of many comments he made on the stream.
“If I could find them,” Trunick said soon after Johnson’s comment. “F***ing people, assholes. You know who I’m talking about. Communists.”
Despite these and similar comments, the video concluded with Trunick sitting in front of a campus building for minutes before suddenly signing off.
In the time between his two visits to UNC, Trunick posted a picture on Facebook of Silent Sam when the Confederate monument still stood on campus. The picture has a text overlay that reads, “Y’all can’t win! If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!”
In the caption of that picture, Trunick wrote, “Antifa u(sic) can not win this war."
‘What they stand for’
Little’s activism has long subjected her to comments like the lynching threat she received during Trunick’s most recent stream. She said the pro-Confederate groups’ consistent focus on the Unsung Founders Memorial proves their true motive.
“Isn’t it interesting that when they see a Confederate monument perceived as being attacked, they don’t attack a Union monument,” Little said. “They attack a monument to enslaved people. So it’s pretty clear what they stand for and what they’re about.”
Last week, the Orange County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution calling on the University to take action in response to these events, following a similar resolution from the Carrboro Board of Aldermen the previous week.
Those resolutions also criticized the police treatment of and trespass orders against anti-racist student activists. Little said she believes UNC Police has encouraged hostile pro-Confederate activity on campus and thinks it is going to lead to violence.
“It might not be an anti-racist activist, it might not be a white student, it might not be someone that UNC cares about,” Little said. “But it might be a Black worker, or it might be a Black student, or it might be a Black community member, who ends up getting murdered, or stabbed, or hurt.”