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UNC System’s Settlement with Neo-Confederate Group Prompts Outrage from Civil Rights Groups, Students and Faculty

Chapel Hill, NC– Today the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a motion in Orange County Superior Court to intervene and set aside a $2.5 million consent judgment between the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors and the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans over the school’s Confederate monument, known as “Silent Sam.” Under the agreement, UNC will transfer the monument to the Confederate heritage group and provide $2.5 million for the monument’s maintenance, display and other activities. Students and faculty at UNC have expressed outrage over the decision, which was abruptly announced before Thanksgiving, and the Lawyers’ Committee is taking action on behalf of six UNC students and one faculty member to set aside the consent judgment and to dismiss the Confederate group’s Complaint.  

 “The University of North Carolina System has abdicated its responsibilities under its mission to the students, faculty, the University community and the people of North Carolina by striking this deal with a neo-Confederate group,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “We stand with the students and faculty in condemning this deeply flawed settlement that finds the UNC system complicit in financing white supremacist activity.”

“The Board of Governors’ secret negotiations, lack of transparency and false statements to the court, UNC students and the public is unacceptable,” said De’Ivyion Drew, a Sophomore at UNC-CH and one of the intervenors. “These actions violate the Board of Governor’s duties to me as a student of this university and undermine UNC’s mission. The University’s agreement to give 2.5 million dollars to the Sons of Confederate Veterans will help that group and other neo-confederates continue to perpetuate the ahistorical and dangerous “Lost Cause” ideology. That ideology is a major obstacle to racial equity and reparative measures in our country.”

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a civil rights organization that works to fight racial discrimination across the country. In addition to the motion to dismiss filed today, the Lawyers’ Committee sent a letter to the Board of Governors and UNC earlier this week calling on them to meet their fiduciary obligations to protect UNC’s interests and to recover the $2.5 million immediately.

A copy of today’s Lawyers’ Committee filings can be found here:

A copy of the motion to intervene, motion to set aside the consent judgment, and motion to dismiss are linked.