Silent Sam settlement overturned in hearing

Silent+Sam+statue+at+the+UNC+Chapel+Hill+campus

Silent Sam statue at the UNC Chapel Hill campus

Natalie Winston, News Copy Editor

In February of 2020, a judge overturned the settlement that required UNC Chapel Hill to pay two and a half million dollars and give the Silent Sam monument to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The hearing had been held to decide whether the Sons of Confederate Veterans had the right to conduct a lawsuit against the school in the first place. Superior Court judge Allen Baddour who had originally approved the settlement, countered his original issue and stated that the group did not have the grounds for a lawsuit. 

“It’s unfair to the students, and times have changed. People don’t necessarily agree with having the statue up at the school anymore. The statue should be taken off of the campus if it is what makes the students the most comfortable,” said Sagan Dupree, senior. 

In December of 2019, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRU)  filed an appeal on behalf of UNC Chapel Hill who had been denied the motion to intervene in the lawsuit that was requiring them to pay the two and a half million dollars.

After the deal had been made in November 2019, it caused many protests and public criticism. Many groups showed their support for UNC Chapel Hill, including the LCCRU. Students refused to take the deal, which led to the hearing to determine whether the Sons of Confederate Veterans had the right to hold a lawsuit against the school.

The Confederate group is currently in possession of the monument, but it is up to the UNC System Board of Governors what happens to the monument next. They are hoping for a legal solution to keep the monument off school grounds. Ripley Rand, a lawyer representing the UNC System says that the ruling was not what they were hoping for but that it was fair. 

The Board of Governors knew from the very beginning that this was a difficult but needed solution to meet all their goals to protect public safety of the University community, restore normality to campus, and be compliant with the Monument Law,” said Rand, according to the News and Observer. 

Going forward, UNC is hoping to find a fair way to relocate the statue off of the campus, although the Sons of Confederate Veterans are still hoping to fight to keep the statue on the campus. The SCV’s attorney Boyd Sturges says that the group was disappointed with the ruling, but they are still looking for a way to keep the monument on the campus where they say it belongs. 

The students and faculty at UNC Chapel Hill are happy with the ruling, and hope for the rest of the trial to go in their favor quickly and quietly. 

“I hope that they get the statue off of the campus, and that everything goes back to normal for them,” said Dupree.