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Faculty group ultimatum: We will take down UNC’s ‘Silent Sam’ statue ourselves

A group claiming to be comprised of “Full” and “Endowed Chair” University of North Carolina professors has sent a letter to UNC Chancellor Carol Folt demanding the Confederate statue “Silent Sam” be taken down … or else they will do it.

The deadline for the school to effect the removal is Wednesday evening at midnight.

The Daily Tar Heel obtained a copy of the “Group of Seventeen’s” letter, and notes the members wish to remain anonymous. The group allegedly represents the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health, and the School of Law.

“We do not fear arrest, indeed we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the commitment that the Carolina faculty has to the wellbeing of its students and the principles that make this university great,” the letter states.

More from the letter:

As proud and loyal faculty members of the University of North Carolina we take seriously our charge of pastoral care of our students. The talented young women and men of North Carolina and beyond who deserve more than an explicit symbol of abuse at the heart of their beloved campus.

We have decided to remove the statue ourselves if the Chancellor’s office does not do so by March 1st 2018 at midnight, and you commit to that plan of action privately.

All the preparations have been made to minimize disruption and personal injury. The statue may be taken down in the next hour, next week or any time this month. It may be removed during the weekday when security is not in attendance, during a basketball game, or at 3am when a single officer is asleep in his car parked on Franklin street. It will be taken to a safe place where it will be curated for exhibition.

We do not fear arrest, indeed we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the commitment that the Carolina faculty has to the wellbeing of its students and the principles that make this university great.

Some commenters to the DTH piece expressed skepticism that the group’s members are really faculty. One says “a quick read and one can deduce there are no English Department faculty in this gang of 17,” while another points out that a line in the letter plagiarizes a sentence from, ironically, Chancellor Folt’s message on the “Ethics and Integrity at Carolina” website.

This past Wednesday, a rumored white supremacist rally led to a group of counter-protesters getting together to challenge the pallid-hued confab. However, when no white supremacists showed up, the activists quickly turned their attention to Silent Sam.

MORE: U. North Carolina’s ‘Silent Sam’ statue vandalized yet again

MORE: UNC students, faculty offer dubious legal basis for removing ‘Silent Sam’

IMAGE: Don McCullough/Flickr

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