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Student charged with toppling Confederate statue might be rewarded with scholarship

Breaking the law typically subjects a person to society’s disapproval.

At North Carolina Central University, it might get a student a scholarship.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the political science department at the historically black public university is voting “soon” on rewarding a student who is facing felony and misdemeanor charges for toppling a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina on Monday night.

Takiyah Thompson wasn’t the only one who helped bring down the statue, but she was identifiable on video and she participated in a press conference the next day, where police arrested her.

The 22-year-old’s professor, Allan Cooper, came up with the idea of giving Thompson a scholarship for “her ability to use her political-science education to the benefit of the community,” as he told the department chairman.

A professor at NCCU’s law school, Scott Holmes, is representing Thompson and all other arrested protesters for free, calling her “an inspiration” who has “awakened the conversation around race.”

The chair of the history department, Jim Harper II, said it’s “a healthy thing for students to have a voice and to be leaders in activism” such as illegally toppling statues that offend them. Other professors are raising money for their legal costs.

A 2012 graduate of NCCU’s law school blames the state for Thompson’s behavior:

There is little cities and counties can do to remove the statues alone, [T. Greg] Doucette said, because of a 2015 law that prevents localities from removing or altering statues and other monuments on public property.

“If you don’t want these kinds of repercussions from the public, you have to give the public a voice,” Mr. Doucette said. “The state of North Carolina has taken the exact opposite approach.”

Thompson is a celebrity in her class, where her announced court date brought forth hearty applause, according to the Chronicle.

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