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UNC students create ‘anti-racist’ alert system as tensions over Silent Sam still fester

Racial tensions on North Carolina’s flagship campus continue to persist. Students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill have created a “UNC Anti-Racist Alerts” texting system to warn each other when pro-Silent Sam demonstrators are on or near campus.

“SMS alerts when white supremacists are at UNC-CH. … Not an emergency service nor university affiliated,” its Twitter page states.

The alert system was created last month as some continue to clash over the Confederate statue Silent Sam, which was torn down by students and its pedestal removed by the school last year.

But disputes between student activists and local Confederate groups remain ongoing.

Due to what they see as negligent inaction on the part of the administration, UNC students started the “anti-racist alerts” system to warn students of the presence of “white supremacist” groups on campus. They said they are upset campus administrators won’t send such alerts from the main student-alert system.

The woman who initiated the alert system is a graduate student named Lindsay Ayling. According to Ayling, the alert system was started in response to incidents such as when a student was punched by a protestor on campus in 2018. In the video, the protester was a member of ACTBAC (Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County).

The university itself has an alert system, “Alert Carolina,” but Ayling told The College Fix, “In order for Alert Carolina to actually notify people about this type of situation, the school would have to value student safety over PR.” Ayling said she has “no faith” in the administration.

UNC media relations department declined to comment to The College Fix on Ayling and the alert system.

Ayling said she was bothered that the university did not call attention to a recent demonstration of what Ayling called “armed racists” near campus late last month. The group that she was referring to is “The Heirs to the Confederacy.”

When The College Fix contacted Lance Spivey, the founder of the “Heirs to the Confederacy,” he stated: “Nobody has anything to fear from the Heirs to the Confederacy. … We have not been on the campus for months and don’t plan on going back.”

“Franklin Street, however, is public property,” he added, “but Lindsay and her friends can’t seem to understand there is a difference.”

The Heirs to the Confederacy’s most recent demonstration was on Franklin Street.

Spivey has organized the protests in reaction to the university completely removing the statue of Silent Sam, he said. This memorial was erected in 1913 in honor of the students and alumni of UNC that fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Sam is “Silent” because he has no ammunition to fire his gun.

Ayling told The College Fix that this statue is a symbol of “white supremacy,” and pointed out that in the dedication speech for the statue, Julian Carr bragged about whipping a “negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” because she publicly insulted a white woman.

Ayling claimed that The Heirs to the Confederacy is racist and also said that one of Spivey’s protesters used racial slurs against one of the anti-racist protestors and threatened to show up at her apartment.

Spivey denied that he himself has ever said or written anything racist and directed The College Fix to The Heirs of the Confederacy’s mission statement, which reads, “We believe that all men and women, regardless of race, ability, creed, orientation, or social station, are of equal value as human beings.”

Spivey said he and his followers see the statue as a symbol of states rights, and that tearing down the statue is an attack on the Constitution.

Both The Heirs to the Confederacy and the anti-racist protesters have accused each other of being violent and instigating fights. When The College Fix approached the UNC public safety department to resolve these claims, the university declined to comment.

According to Ayling, the university has shied away from making comments about these protests and about the students alert system because they “disapprove of anti-racist protests at UNC.”

According to Spivey, the alert system is “just another attempt at getting attention.”

According to a report from the Daily Tar Heel, Silent Sam, which was hidden by the university and has been the source of all this discord, is claimed to have been found by some students.

The College Fix attempted to contact the UNC College Republicans concerning these issues, but they said they were unaware of the alert system.

MORE: Protesters forcibly topple Confederate war memorial statue at UNC

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About the Author
Isaac graduated in May from Thomas Aquinas College with a double major in philosophy and theology. He currently is working as a Resident Director and Development Officer for his alma mater, helping with its new campus in Northfield, Massachusetts. Last summer he had his introduction to journalism with the Media Research Center working as a reporter for MRC Culture. Isaac is also a member of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and is an ISI Honors Scholar.

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