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UNC wants your ideas on the best location for Silent Sam

The rise and fall of Silent Sam

Silent Sam has stood on UNC-Chapel Hill's McCorkle Place for 105 years. On Monday August 20, 2018, it was brought down by protesters.
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Silent Sam has stood on UNC-Chapel Hill's McCorkle Place for 105 years. On Monday August 20, 2018, it was brought down by protesters.

UNC-Chapel Hill Carol Folt is soliciting ideas for a location for Silent Sam, the Confederate statue that was pulled down by protesters on Aug. 20.

On Monday, Folt wrote to the campus community, saying the university had created a dedicated email address to take public input on the monument. The address, uncmonument@unc.edu, is available for anyone to submit their ideas.

Folt and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees have until Nov. 15 to submit a plan to the UNC system’s Board of Governors for Silent Sam’s “disposition and preservation.” The monument is now being kept in storage.

William Thorpe, founder of UNC Walk for Health, offers a idea for a replacement for the fallen Silent Sam statue on McCorkle Place at the University of North Carolina on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

“I know that many in our community and beyond feel passionately about the monument,” Folt wrote, adding, “Thank you in advance for your input on this important topic that will help shape the future of North Carolina.”

Folt has said she thinks the statue should be in a safe and alternative location. Late last month she released a statement that said: “Silent Sam has a place in our history and on our campus where its history can be taught, but not at the front door of a safe, welcoming, proudly public research university.”

A 2015 state law prevents altering or moving historic monuments. It is unclear whether the Board of Governors will go along with any plan to move the statue. At least one member has said the statue should be reinstalled in its former location.

That statue’s large pedestal still sits on McCorkle Place, at the Franklin Street entrance to the university.

Pro-Silent Sam demonstrators were escorted by police on Thursday to a barricaded area near the base of where Silent Sam stood for a vigil. Protesters held a dance party and the two groups taunted each other. Police used pepper spray throughout.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559; @janestancill

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