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Frequently Asked Questions about UNC System Confederate Monument Settlement

The University has compiled these frequently asked questions to provide the campus community and public with the facts in one place about the University of North Carolina System’s recent settlement allowing for the disposition of the Confederate Monument known as Silent Sam.

What is this settlement? How did it happen?

On Nov. 27, 2019, the UNC System announced that the Board of Governors and the UNC System had entered a court-approved consent judgment in a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. (SCV) that asserted various legal claims against the UNC System and its Board of Governors about the monument.

The UNC System’s announcement emphasized that the settlement “prioritizes the safety and security of the University community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors. The settlement also allows the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University System to focus on its core mission of teaching, education and research.” 

The announcement also said the settlement provides an independent trust with the resources to preserve the historic monument and comply with the monuments law as provided in Chapter 100 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

What are the terms of the settlement?

The UNC System’s announcement lists the following terms: 

  • SCV owns all rights, title, and interests in the monument; 
  • The University will turn over possession of the monument to SCV;
  • SCV will maintain possession of the monument outside any of the 14 counties currently containing a UNC System constituent institution and;
  • Using non-state funds, the University will fund a charitable trust to be held by a non-party trustee in the amount of $2.5 million, and the proceeds may be disbursed only for certain limited expenses related to the maintenance, display or preservation of the monument.

What did the court order/judge say?

The order signed by the Superior Court Judge turned over possession of the monument to the SCV and said the settlement and transfer of the monument complied with the state monument law. That means the monument will never return to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Who approved the settlement?

Members of the Board of Governors negotiated and approved the settlement, which the Board approved through the Governance Committee following review by the North Carolina Attorney General’s office. An Orange County Superior Court Judge signed and entered the consent judgment. The settlement was not presented to the Interim Chancellor or to the Board of Trustees for approval.


What gives the Board of Governors the authority to make decisions about the monument?

The BOG is the body charged with the governance and control of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. It holds the authority to supervise and manage the affairs of the UNC System and its constituent campuses. The ultimate disposition of the monument has always rested with the BOG, not UNC-Chapel Hill.


What are the details of the $2.5 million trust established as a part of the settlement?

There is a trust agreement between the UNC System, the Board of Governors and the SCV, and an independent trustee has the sole responsibility for disbursing funds according to the terms of that trust agreement. The purpose of the trust is the maintenance, display and preservation of the monument. The funds in the trust do not belong to and are not controlled by the SCV.


Where is the money coming from? Are state funds used?

The UNC System directed UNC-Chapel Hill to transfer funds to the System, and the funds were transferred from unrestricted accumulated earnings. No state-appropriated funds, tuition dollars, student fees or current unrestricted gifts from donors were used. This is consistent with how the University funds most legal settlements.