Updated 3:45 p.m.: Board of Governors Chairperson Randy Ramsey called the legal motion from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law "irresponsible" in a statement, saying the group is undermining public safety with attempts to return Silent Sam to campus.
"Law enforcement experts have made it crystal clear: returning the monument to campus would pose serious public safety risks to students, faculty and staff," the statement said.
Ramsey's statement also reiterated that according to the settlement, the monument will not return to any county with a UNC System institution.
A representative from the North Carolina Department of Justice said the Board of Governors sidelined Attorney General Josh Stein’s office by hiring outside counsel in the Silent Sam settlement deal.
“Attorney General Stein personally believes it is an excessive amount of money that should instead be used to strengthen the University and support students,” Laura Brewer, communications director for the Attorney General, said in a statement.
The settlement, which established a $2.5 million trust in non-state funds for the preservation of the monument, has been called into question by groups including the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. This national civil rights group wrote a letter to Ripley Rand, the lawyer who represented the BOG in its settlement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The letter asked UNC and the BOG to “act immediately to take any actions necessary to protect UNC’s interests and to recover the 2.5 million dollars dedicated to paying that judgement.”
The committee noted several concerns it had with the settlement — including that it was unclear whether the Attorney General reviewed the settlement agreement prior to entering it, as is required by law for agreements of more than $75,000. Brewer said DOJ lawyers did not have a role in the settlement, but advised the BOG on its legality.