The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 20th

Silent Sam Monument


Silent Sam in McCorkle Place

Unraveling the story behind the Silent Sam lawsuit

On Wednesday, Judge Allen Baddour dismissed the Sons of Confederate Veterans lawsuit against the UNC System. Now, the fate of Silent Sam is once again uncertain. Here's what happened between the Board of Governors and the SCV since they settled for $2.5 million on Nov. 27, 2019.  It was later disclosed that they had already settled for $74,999, which sources said was used by the SCV to purchase Silent Sam  and enable the lawsuit. Baddour's dismissal of the lawsuit followed UNC students, faculty and alumni lending voices to the case and asking for the settlement to be reversed. 

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Silent Sam in McCorkle Place

Judge in Silent Sam case ruled to dismiss Sons of Confederate Veterans suit

Judge Allen Baddour ruled that the Sons of Confederate Veterans did not have standing to sue in the Silent Sam case and vacated the consent judgment on Wednesday. The decision comes after months of controversy following a November 2019 agreement between the UNC System and the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. to give the statue to the Confederate group along with access to a $2.5 million trust for "the preservation and benefit" of the Confederate Monument. It is not currently known what will happen with Silent Sam or the $2.5 million.

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Behind closed doors: UNC System concealed $74,999 deal's role in Confederate payoff

A secretive $74,999 payment has remained a standout question in a pair of backdoor deals between the UNC System and the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. two months ago. The settlement agreement was announced nearly a month after its Nov. 21 signing as a commitment by the SCV to limit its practices and displays on UNC System property. The Daily Tar Heel has obtained new details from sources with first-hand knowledge of the deal, revealing that the $74,999 served as a crucial payoff in a larger courtroom collusion effort between the state’s higher-education authority and a politically-active, pro-Confederate group. 

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A plaque to honor William Alexander Graham, Confederate States Senator among many other titles, is pictured on display in Memorial Hall on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. After the UNC System's decision to give funding and perpetual rights to Silent Sam to the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, Carolina Performing Arts released a statement on how surprised they were about the decision. Though CPA's statement recognized the plaques as a reminder of Southern history, their future is unknown.

'Distorted and false version of history': CPA responds to Silent Sam settlement

On Dec. 20, Carolina Performing Arts released a statement in response to the Sons of Confederate Veterans settlement. Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser said CPA is "appalled at the agreement entered into on our behalf by the UNC System Board of Governors."  However, CPA is also dealing with its own place in history. Its primary venue, Memorial Hall, prominently displays plaques in remembrance of founders of the University and memorializing Confederate alumni. Now, CPA recognizes its role in addressing these difficult issues through art.

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Kevin Stone, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' North Carolina chapter, poses next to Silent Sam after suing and immediately settling with the UNC System and Board of Governors, a deal that gave the group possession of the Confederate monument and $2.5 million in UNC System money for its "preservation and benefit." Photo courtesy of SCV members. 

Sons of Confederate Veterans members oppose $2.5 million Silent Sam reward

Multiple current member of the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. spoke to The Daily Tar Heel in the aftermath of the Confederate group's secretive settlement with the UNC System, which accrued it ownership of Silent Sam and $2.5 million in UNC System money. The members expressed desires to squash the deal and give the money back. They alleged financial impropriety and extortion among SCV leadership, referenced intermingling with gangs and hate groups, and described threats and slurs that have been issued toward members who raise questions. 

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Confederate heritage supporters rallied in McCorkle Place to defend the statue of Silent Sam in 2015. Confederacy-related controversy has plagued UNC since, the latest of which came last week when the UNC System and Board of Governors settled a lawsuit with the Sons of Confederate Veterans under controversial circumstances.

'Victory': Confederates tout backdoor dealings of $2.5 million Silent Sam settlement

In an email recently leaked by one of its recipients, Kevin Stone, leader of the N.C. Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc., detailed secret negotiations with UNC Board of Governors members that led to a "major strategic victory" for the pro-Confederate movement. Stone sent the email on the same day that the group filed and immediately settled a lawsuit against the UNC system and the board. That settlement won the Confederate group legal ownership of Silent Sam and $2.5 million in UNC system money, some of which may go towards a new headquarters for the group.

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‘It’s a disgrace’: UNC will give Silent Sam to Sons of Confederate Veterans after suit

The UNC System Board of Governors postponed its decision on Silent Sam multiple times after the monument's toppling in August. On Wednesday, it announced a settlement agreement with the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans that follows the group's suit against the UNC System and BOG.  Under the settlement agreement, Silent Sam will be returned to the group — not to be erected in the 14 counties with UNC System schools — and UNC will set up a charitable trust of $2.5 million for the care and preservation of the monument, including a possible building to house it.   

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