Continuing a series of delays, the UNC System Board of Governors will not discuss the future of the Confederate monument on the UNC – Chapel Hill campus known as Silent Sam at the board’s May meeting.
Board chair Harry Smith made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.
“In early March, we set the May meeting of the UNC Board of Governors as a tentative reporting date to consider possible solutions for the confederate monument at UNC-Chapel Hill, commonly known as Silent Sam. A small group of Board members is prepared to review and discuss options at an appropriate time. However, our Board and the universities have also been focused on a number of other issues, including the legislative session, and there is nothing to report at this time. Therefore, the monument issue will not be on our agenda for the May meeting.”
This is another in a series of delays to discuss the future of the monument since it was toppled by protesters last August. An initial November deadline was pushed back to December. The UNC – Chapel Hill administration then presented its proposal for a new facility to be built to house the monument and offer teaching and exhibit space. The System Board of Governors then rejected that plan and set a deadline for a new plan for mid-March.
Then-chancellor Carol Folt instead ordered the removal of the statue’s remaining base in mid-January while also announcing her intention to resign at the end of the academic year. The Board of Governors then moved that resignation date up to January 31.
As the March deadline approached, the governors once again pushed the deadline back. There is now no firm timeline on when a decision could be made on the monument’s future.
Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz has repeatedly said he does not believe the statue should be returned to the campus.
“There’s a more appropriate place for that monument than on our campus,” Guskiewicz said in a recent interview.
Five members of the Board of Governors were assigned to work with the campus in developing a solution for the future of the monument.
“I’m glad that we’ve been able to engage our faculty and students in the conversations with the five-member Board of Governors committee,” Guskiewicz said. “So, I think they know where everybody stands from this end.”