Silent Sam might make more money dead than he ever did alive. “In response to the toppling in August of the Confederate Monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chancellor Carol Folt and other UNC leaders have proposed a controversial solution: a new $5.3 million building on campus that will cost $800,000 a year to operate,” John Hood writes in The Carolina Journal. “Some are outraged that Silent Sam will be returning to UNC at all, as one of the exhibits in the new University and History Education Center.”
“Others, inclined to defend the state’s Civil War heritage, dislike the idea of relocating the monument to a less-traveled corner of the campus. And taxpayers across the political spectrum are aghast at the multi-million-dollar cost.” Hood is right, as usual. “They managed to formulate a decision that was almost perfect in its absurdity,” Michael C. Behrent, Vice President of the North Carolina American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Conference, writes.
North Carolina law does not allow the board of governors to relocate the statue to a museum, where, if anywhere, it belongs. Moreover, as Hood points out, fear of vandalism and violence clearly undergirds the Board of Governors’ recommendation.
“Our recommendation for the best option consistent with the current law is to relocate the Artifacts to a new University History and Education Center that would be constructed on the main campus property known as Odum Village ,” the Board of Governors (BOG) wrote in their December 3, 2018 report. It turns out that the village was slated for the wrecking ball but now may get a makeover.
“This is formerly the site of student family housing and is scheduled for demolition,” the BOG report claims. “According to our 20-year master plan, this will be the next area of growth for campus. We believe that this solution would be sustainable within the current law and with vigilance, additional security, and protective measures, would meet the goals in the BOG charge for protecting public safety, preserving the Monument
and its history and allowing the University to focus on its mission.”