A lawsuit is being threatened towards the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for producing a “racially hostile learning environment” with the confederate statue, according to WRAL.
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt has stated that the school lacks the authority to do so because of a law passed by the general assembly in 2015, making it illegal for local governments to remove or alter public monuments without the state’s approval.
“That position is wrong as it ignores UNC’s overriding obligation to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws. UNC is not only free to remove Silent Sam in order to adhere to federal law, it is legally obligated to do so,” Hampton Dellinger, a Durham attorney who is representing the 12 UNC students suing the school, said in a letter to UNC’s Chancellor, President and Board of Trustees.
“Simply put, UNC’s state law excuse is an insufficient response to a breach of federal law. As a result, you must stop violating federal civil rights laws and remove Silent Sam.” Dellinger said.
In neighboring Durham, Duke removed it’s confederate statue of Robert E. Lee
The recent opposition isn’t the first the campus has seen.
In 1971, the Black Student Movement and the Afro-American Society of Chapel Hill gathered to protest a statue in memory of James Cates who was murdered by a gang of white motorcyclists on campus, according to UNC confederate monument timeline website.
Three more protestors were just arrested related to the protest of the confederate statue on campus in August.
The “Silent Sam” confederate statue was erected in 1913, as the Board of Trustees approved the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s request to build one.
The rise of the “recent” controversy about these confederate statues is a result of the conflict between antifa and white supremacists.
The question of whether these statues are something to be put up on a pedestal isn’t just happening in North Carolina, it’s happening all across the country.
A Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park was vandalized Sept. 12. The statue’s hands were painted red and spray painted with the hashtag “SomethingsComing,” according to the New York Times.
Following the removal of these confederate statues nationally, New York mayor Bill de Blasio put together a commission to review the city’s iconography for possible removal.