Following the controversial news of the Silent Sam settlement between the UNC System and the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, DTH Media Corp. — the parent company of The Daily Tar Heel — filed an open meetings lawsuit against the UNC System and the Board of Governors last Tuesday.
“We are the news organization that covers UNC more thoroughly than anyone else,” Erica Perel, general manager of the DTH, said. “We have a long history of being a watchdog for University governance, and so in that sense, I think it's appropriate that we would take those steps.”
What sparked the lawsuit?
The UNC System made two agreements with the SCV in November 2019 regarding its activity on UNC’s campus and the fate of Silent Sam.
In the first settlement made on Nov. 21, the system agreed to pay the SCV $74,999 to limit its actions on campus.
On Nov. 27, a second settlement was reached. The System gave the SCV possession of the statue and a $2.5 million trust to fund the statue’s preservation.
Five members of the BOG defended the Silent Sam agreement and disclosed the $74,999 agreement in an editorial published in the News & Observer on Dec. 16. They wrote that the authority to settle the matter was outlined in Section 200.5 of the UNC Policy Manual.
Despite the BOG’s stance, the DTH Media Corp. claims in its lawsuit that the BOG violated the Open Meetings Law when it “conceived, negotiated, approved, and executed in total secrecy” these agreements with the SCV.
What is the Open Meetings Law?