Statement from Board of Trustees on Confederate Monument

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For immediate use

Statement from Board of Trustees on Confederate Monument


(Chapel Hill, N.C. Aug. 25, 2017) – As the current and former chairs, we are writing to address misinformation about the state law governing the Confederate Monument, commonly referred to as Silent Sam, and to express our support for the ways the chancellor and the University have been handling this complex matter.


We are making this statement because we are surprised and disappointed at the misinterpretations and false narratives regarding the University’s legal options on this situation.


Our Office of University Counsel and UNC General Administration have advised Chancellor Carol L. Folt that the University does not have the legal authority to move the monument, and the Board agrees with that interpretation of the law, North Carolina General Statute 100-2.1.


Furthermore, we have received guidance from Louis Bissette Jr., chair of the UNC Board of Governors, agreeing with our assertion that, despite a differing opinion from the governor, we have not been given the green light by anyone with authority to relocate the statue. Any suggestion that we have unilateral authority is inaccurate. Any legal options available to us will be guided by discussions with the Board of Governors.


Above all, regardless of the circumstance, the chancellor has a responsibility to the people of North Carolina to uphold all state laws. With this new law, it is relatively easy for many individuals to speculate about its meaning or offer possible loopholes as ways to operate around the law. It would be unwise and imprudent for the University to take any action regarding the monument without additional legal clarity, and we would expect no less from our chancellor. Moreover, the University will enforce all policies regarding signage and the proper use of grounds and facilities. A consistent application of policy is critical to ensuring a functional, daily operation of the University.


Finally, the Board of Trustees has been deeply involved in these discussions and deliberations, and wishes to acknowledge our full support of Chancellor Folt’s fearless and decisive leadership, her unwavering commitment to the safety of our campus community and the long tradition of open and respectful debate on our campus.


Haywood D. Cochrane, Chair


Dwight D. Stone, Former Chair (2015-2017)


Lowry Caudill, Former Chair (2013-2015)


Richard Y. Stevens, Former Chair (1997-1999)




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 318,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 157 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


University Communications contact: Media Relations, (919) 445-8555,