A number of UNC faculty departments have released statements in opposition to the Board of Governors' $2.5 million Silent Sam statue settlement with the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The Faculty Council, UNC School of Law, School of Education, School of Library Science and Institute for the Arts and Humanities have each been vocal in condemning the deal — as have other departments including history, anthropology, communication, Asian studies and African, African American and Diaspora studies. The Council of Chairs of the College of Arts and Sciences also responded.
Students and faculty have used statements to make requests for things including reparation payments, the retraction of the deal and the resignation of Chancellor Guskiewicz. There has also been a call to increase funding and support for The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and other campus programs celebrating Black identities.
History professor Benjamin Waterhouse said the Silent Sam settlement deal condones the miseducation of the entire state of North Carolina, especially on historical events and issues of race.
“We see ourselves as a part of a University with a profound public mission,” Waterhouse said.
Waterhouse said that a wide constituency of faculty and UNC community members should have been consulted on the BOG decision. Had a more diverse and representative group been included in the decision, he said, there might have been a different outcome.
In December, the Department of History faculty held a meeting to draft the statement and vote. Votes came from professors on the tenure track, but did not include graduate student staff. The released statement does not have specific signatories, Waterhouse said, but reflects the opinion of the department as a whole.
Waterhouse and his colleagues, he said, want to lend their voice to the settlement conversation in their particular position as historians. The view of the Department of History is rooted in the misapplication of history by the SCV, he said.
“The basic historical concern that we have is the Confederate tendency — a view held by the Sons of Confederate Veterans — to represent the Civil War as something other than a war about slavery,” he said.