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Statement on Silent Sam

We, the Faculty and Board of the Graduate Student Association in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the UNC Board of Governors’ agreement to establish a $2.5 million irrevocable charitable trust to support the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Payments from our university to a neo-confederate group, negotiated under the cover of darkness, contradict the values that bind us together, to UNC-Chapel Hill, and to the UNC System. We call upon our university and university leadership, Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin, to reject white supremacy and enhance the diversity of our campus community, specifically by investing in our Black and Brown students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Furthermore, we call on the UNC Board of Governors to sever ties with the Sons of Confederate Veterans; stop all payments to this group; publicly disclose the process through which the agreement came to pass; embark upon an honest and public reckoning with its foundations in wealth generated by enslaved labor; and confront the racial discrimination and biases that continue to harm members of our community.

As educators, we have an obligation to continue the work of dismantling systemic racism in our schools, on our college campuses, and in our democratic society. As we make this call, we are reminded of North Carolina’s state motto, “Esse Quam Videri”: To be, rather than to seem. We call on our university to be a beacon of light and liberty to our state, nation, and world.