UNC monument, art installation vandalized with ‘racist language’ early Sunday

The campus of UNC-Chapel Hill was vandalized Sunday morning by an individual “affiliated with the Heirs to the Confederacy,” Interim UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a message to the university Sunday evening.

Two individuals defaced both the Unsung Founders Memorial, a monument dedicated to the people of color who helped construct the university, and an art installation with “racist language,” Guskiewicz said in the release.

It was not clear what was written on the monuments, though UNC said it included “hateful language and racial slurs.”

One person who has been a protest leader at UNC during the Silent Sam demonstrations believes the graffiti messages were aimed at her.

Maya Little said in a Tweet Sunday that her attorney told her “that something i regards to my name was spraypainted on the monument. UNC has not officially contacted me even though I am a PhD student nor told anything else to my lawyer. They didn’t tell him what was written.”

The Unsung Founders Memorial is on UNC’s upper quad near where the controversial Silent Sam Confederate monument once stood. The art installation that was vandalized was located outside of Hanes Art Center.

“These events challenge not only our most fundamental community values, but also the safety of our campus,” Guskiewicz said in the release. “Lawless behavior will not be tolerated, and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions.”

The incidents apparently happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. University Police are investigating.

UNC also said that University Police were in the process of obtaining a warrant to arrest one of the individuals “who is known to be affiliated with the Heirs to the Confederacy and was identified on surveillance tape.”

The university is reviewing surveillance tape to identify the other person involved.

UNC said the memorial has been cleaned. But it did not provide a similar update on the art installation.

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Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.