Dec. 14, 2018
We appreciate the opportunity to have more time to explore options to develop the best possible plan to relocate the Confederate Monument. We thank everyone who has been working on this effort, including President Spellings and Chair Harry Smith who met with members of our campus community yesterday.
The plan we put forward did meet the letter of the charge from the Board of Governors but hasn’t satisfied anyone, and we recognize that.
We have a responsibility to make wonderful things happen on our campus – to enrich the life and prosperity, the health and well-being of the people of our state. But even more so, to be a place where the students, the staff and faculty who power the University, can thrive and feel safe.
We are the only university in this state that has anything closely resembling this statue. Put here more than one hundred years ago, our community is carrying the burden of an artifact, given to us by a previous generation in a different time. The burden of the statue has been and still is disproportionately shouldered by African Americans. No university today would even consider placing such an artifact on their campuses.
Moving forward, the responsibility is on me, my leadership team, the University’s Boards, and our state to find a solution that allows all of our people to thrive and do great things.
As we work with the Board of Governors, our work will include more fully exploring off-campus options as put forward in the report. This was the stated and strong preference that the Board of Trustees and I made in our proposed plan because we learned from our analyses that relocating off campus, for example to the NC Museum of History, was the best way to ensure the safety and security of our people and campus and was more feasible and cost-effective.
The decisions that will be made about this statue will have lasting ramifications for the university and the state. The people of our university work every day to serve for the betterment of this state and we all owe it to them to get this right.
Clearly it won’t be easy, but we will continue to work as hard as we can to find the best solution so that our community and our state can thrive.