Several students at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill campus want the school to remove a statue of a confederate soldier that’s been on the campus since 1913.
Known as Silent Sam, the monument honors the school’s alumni who died fighting for the Confederate cause during the Civil War and all students who fought on the Confederate side.
The News & Observer reported Wednesday that a lawyer representing the UNC Black Law Students Association and other students on campus threatened to file a federal lawsuit unless the statue is removed.
“Silent Sam should go for many reasons including its incompatibility with the ‘inclusive and welcoming environment’ promised by UNC’s non-discrimination policy,” Hampton Dellinger wrote in a letter to UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt and UNC system President Margaret Spellings. “We are providing legal notice of an additional reason why Silent Sam must come down now: the statue violates federal anti-discrimination laws by fostering a racially hostile learning environment.”
Dellinger cited parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in his argument that UNC is in violation of federal laws because the statue is still standing on the campus.
The News & Observer reported last month that UNC wants to take down the statue out of safety concerns, but it is not convinced that it has the legal authority to do so.
According to a page on the UNC website dedicated to the statue, the Confederate soldier is holding a rifle but does not have any ammunition, which led to his nickname Silent Sam.
School officials were forced to clean up the monument and the area around it last month after protesters left behind signs, benches, tables, and other items.