The Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies supports the University’s core values encouraging diversity and equal educational and employment opportunities throughout the University community. These values are articulated in the University’s Non-Discrimination Policy and by the office ofDiversity and Multicultural Affairs.
The Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies calls for the immediate removal of Silent Sam from UNC Chapel Hill’s campus. For years, we have taught this monument’s fraught history and called attention to the negative signal it sends to contemporary students, faculty, and other UNC workers, especially African Americans. In the wake of Charlottesville, and given the resurgence of a white nationalist movement which has adopted such Jim Crow era statues as proud icons, the meaning of Silent Sam is no longer in doubt. No explanatory plaque, or alternative monument in the vicinity, can adequately counteract or compensate for the divisive, racially charged message this statue loudly projects. In accordance with the university’s core values, the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies is committed to diversity and inclusion in all its functions. To leave Silent Sam where he stands, at perhaps the most prominent site on university grounds, can only be seen as inconsistent with that core mission. Most disturbingly, the statue invites violent groups, who could pose real danger to students and everyone else on campus. If the statue is of historical interest, let it be moved to a historical museum.