A Letter to Chancellor Folt
Yesterday evening, in the interest of public safety, I sent a letter to Chancellor Folt requesting that UNC petition the North Carolina Historic Commission to immediately remove Silent Sam from its current location on campus and place the statue in storage.
The complete letter can be found below.
August 17, 2017
Chancellor Carol Folt
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Dear Chancellor Folt,
As you know, Monday’s toppling of a Confederate monument in Durham and today’s vandalism of a statue at the Duke Chapel have heightened concerns for public safety. Clearly, the presence of the Silent Sam statue on campus presents a clear and present danger to the students on campus and our community at large.
In light of these recent actions and the broader unrest taking place around the country regarding such statues, I am writing to request that UNC petition the North Carolina Historical Commission to have the statue of Silent Sam removed immediately from its current location on campus and placed in storage.
We are suggesting that you frame the petition so that it is clear it is asking for relief that is possible, and appropriate, under the existing state law that generally prohibits the removal of monuments, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 100-2.1.
The object of the statute is to protect the monuments located on public property. The statute acknowledges that there may be times when a political subdivision of the state, such as the University, is required to take “appropriate measures” to preserve a monument.
Right now is such a time. The possibility of a breach of the peace is high, and with it the likelihood that Silent Sam could suffer substantial damage. This circumstance certainly calls for the University to be able to take the proactive step of removing the statue from harm’s way. Indeed, asking for permission to do so is entirely consistent with the purpose of the statute and the mission of the Historical Commission.
I believe such a petition is in order, and that it is in the interest of the Town as well as the University for you to ask permission to remove the statue, in order to avert what could become a situation that could easily get out of hand.
Thank you for your consideration.
Mayor Pam Hemminger
Town of Chapel Hill