Silent Sam has been vandalized many times over the course of its lengthy presence on campus. There have been several notable examples in recent years, and in each case, the University responded strongly. With cameras pointing at Silent Sam from every angle, around-the-clock police protection and barriers erected around the statue, the University has always made a point of upping security in the wake of vandalism.
Yet a week after the Unsung Founders Memorial was defaced with racist graffiti and urine, the only protection the memorial received is metal barricades. The barricades are easy enough to climb over, and the only news of any sort of official University presence around the area has been of University employees removing flowers left to honor those to whom the memorial is dedicated.
Suspects for the vandalism have been identified, and one is known to be affiliated with the group Heirs To The Confederacy. Given the regularity with which Confederate groups come to UNC’s campus — even armed sometimes — and the fact that one of their ranks is alleged to have committed this crime, it seems surprising that the University is not on more of a high alert in regards to the Unsung Founders Memorial.
The University spent nearly $400,000 protecting Silent Sam in the 2017-18 fiscal year. With Silent Sam now gone from our campus, perhaps it is time for some of the funds that would have gone to protecting it to be spent guarding the Unsung Founders Memorial instead. At the very least, the Board would hope to see a more substantial effort made to protect the memorial in the immediate aftermath of its defacement.