- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 10, 2019

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Faculty members at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill condemned the state university system for deciding to give a Confederate monument, along with $2.5 million dollars, to a Confederate heritage group.

Faculty asked interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and provost Bob Blouin on Monday to denounce the payment and get answers from the system’s Board of Governors, which agreed in a legal settlement to give the Sons of Confederate Veterans the money and the statue known as Silent Sam.

Faculty members said they’re angry about the decision and that they weren’t included in the process.

Blouin said campus leadership faced an “impossible” decision and didn’t have much to say because they are under the authority of the UNC System.

Faculty argue that Guskiewicz still should speak up against the board. Faculty intend to invite system interim President Bill Roper and board chairman Randy Ramsey to speak with staff to discuss how the decisions were made, The News & Observer reported.

The Board of Governors announced Tuesday that they will meet on Dec. 13 to hold a “special session by conference call” to discuss the decision.

A judge approved the settlement last week in response to a lawsuit filed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The decision allows the group to “forever maintain possession” of Silent Sam, news outlets reported. The university system also will use non-state funds to endow a $2.5 million trust for its preservation and possibly a facility to house it.

About 200 campus community members met Thursday at the location where the monument once stood and protested the settlement while chanting and toting signs.

Leaders of black student groups at the protest expressed outrage and disappointment with the decision, The News & Observer reported. One student leader said the decision shows the university has “invested in white supremacy.” Others called for would-be benefactors to cease donating to any university causes that don’t support marginalized students.

Silent Sam stood in a main quad of the campus for more than a century until activists toppled it overnight in August 2018.

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