The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill chancellor abruptly resigned on Monday — but before doing so, authorized that the remains of a Confederate statue be removed from where it once stood on campus.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt announced her resignation on Monday, adding that she before leaving, one of her last acts as chancellor would be to order the removal of a Confederate statue’s remains from campus.
The statue, known as Silent Sam, had been on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus for over 100 years, until it was torn down by violent protesters in August 2018.
Silent Sam’s pedestal, however, had remained on campus where the monument once stood, as the university’s board of trustees made plans to relocate the statue to the inside of a building, in order to prevent future protesters from toppling it again.
According to Chancellor Folt, the fact that the pedestal still exists on campus has put “the community at risk.” Folt stated in her resignation letter that “threats have continued to grow” due to the pedestal’s presence.
Overnight, workers removed the base and tablets from the Confederate Monument site. I am confident this is the right decision for our community – one that will promote public safety, enable us to begin the healing process and renew our focus on our great mission.
— Carol Folt (@ChancellorFolt) January 15, 2019
“I have authorized the removal of the base and commemorative plaques from the Confederate Monument site,” stated Folt in her resignation letter, “As chancellor, the safety of the UNC-Chapel Hill community is my clear, unequivocal and non-negotiable responsibility.”
“The presence of the remaining parts of the monument on campus poses a continuing threat both to the personal safety and well-being of our community and to our ability to provide a stable, productive educational environment,” continued Folt, “No one learns at their best when they feel unsafe.”
The university’s Board of Governors came out with a statement as well, announcing that they were not aware of the chancellor’s resignation before she made it public.
“We are incredibly disappointed at this intentional action,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Governors chair Harry Smith, “It lacks transparency and it undermines and insults the Board’s goal to operate with class and dignity.”