(Associated Press) Protesters at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill marched to an administration building to criticize a legal settlement that will turn a toppled Confederate statue over to a group of Confederate descendants.
A judge approved the settlement last week in response to a lawsuit filed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The decision allows the group to “forever maintain possession of the monument,” news outlets reported. The university system also will use non-state funds to endow a $2.5 million trust for its preservation and possibly a facility to house it.
The university system said the settlement complies with a 2015 state law restricting the removal of Confederate monuments.
About 200 campus community members met Thursday at the location where the monument once stood and marched from there while chanting and toting signs.
Leaders of black student groups at the protest expressed outrage and disappointment with the decision, The News & Observer reported. One student leader said the decision shows the university has “invested in white supremacy.” Others called for would-be benefactors to cease donating to any university causes that don’t support marginalized students.
Silent Sam stood in a main quad of the campus for more than a century until activists toppled it overnight in August 2018.
R. Kevin Stone, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ North Carolina division, issued a statement that the group was pleased to gain ownership of the statue.
“We have been involved in ongoing negotiations and collaboration to achieve this outcome and we believe it is a fair result,” he said.