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Group Appeals Denial of Students’ and Faculty Motion to Intervene

Chapel Hill, NC– Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a notice of appeal from the denial of their clients’ Motion to Intervene in North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. v. UNC and UNC Board of Governors, 19 CVS 1579. They also filed a motion to stay any further proceedings in the trial court and to stay any execution of the judgment or disbursement of the $2.5 million settlement funds. The Intervenors, 3 UNC Law, 2 UNC undergrad students and a UNC faculty member, are asking the court to maintain the status quo pending review of the matter by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

In support of their motion, the students and faculty member argued that, to facilitate the transfer of the monument and the $2.5 million in public funds, the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors and the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans worked together to construct a lawsuit that was without legal merit. Intervenors further argued that because the parties collaborated to misrepresent issues critical to the court’s jurisdiction, Intervenors’ participation in the lawsuit was necessary to ensure the genuine adversarial process necessary for the fair adjudication of the legal issues. Judge Allen Baddour denied the motion in an order signed on January 10. Despite that ruling, the trial court is scheduled to review additional briefing and hold a hearing on February 12 on the allegation raised by the Intervenors: that the SCV did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. While Intervenors have been allowed to submit a brief on the issue, they will not be permitted to participate in the hearing.

“What I find frustrating about the decision to deny our motion to intervene is that this places the University in a position where they will be working with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. . . rather than allowing the University to work with us and stand together in defense of the interests of all students,” said UNC-CH Sophomore De’Ivyion Drew, one of the intervenors. “We have been told repeatedly that this settlement was negotiated in the interest of student safety – but truly what safety is there in empowering a group rooted in racism and violence? As an intervenor who has been harmed by the continued alliance between UNC entities and white supremacy, I understand this settlement completely incentivizes further harm to other communities both inside and outside the 14 counties of the UNC System Institutions.”

“The factual circumstances surrounding this case are deeply disturbing: the coordination between the parties, the obvious legal defects in the plaintiff’s claims, the rush to finalize this deal and get the court’s approval before the public knew anything. We are taking action today because we believe it’s critical to stop where we are and have the appellate court review this matter,” said Mark Dorosin, a Managing Attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The Notice of Appeal can be found here and Motion to Stay can be found here.