Dear Carolina Community,
Last week, the UNC Board of Governors (BOG) authorized a settlement regarding the Confederate Monument. Having met with several members of our campus community over the past week, I know there are a lot of questions about this settlement.
This is a challenging time. On one hand, the monument will never return to campus, and for this I am especially grateful. On the other hand, some of the values and initiatives we have prioritized since I became Interim Chancellor are being tested.
During the last year, my leadership team and I have consistently heard from students, faculty and staff that the monument should never return to our campus. In March, we invited BOG members to hear firsthand from our campus community who shared deep concerns about the moral implications and safety issues associated with the monument being on campus. I agreed with these sentiments and have consistently urged the UNC System and the BOG to identify an off-campus solution, and this goal was accomplished.
The BOG’s proposal to enter into the settlement agreement with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans (SCV) was reviewed and authorized by the N.C. Attorney General and a consent judgment was signed by a Superior Court Judge. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was directed by the UNC System to turn over possession of the monument. The UNC System also directed UNC-Chapel Hill to transfer non-state funds to the System, which we did from unrestricted accumulated investment earnings. No state-appropriated funds, tuition dollars, student fees or current unrestricted gifts from donors were used that would have funded scholarships, centers or academic programs. I know many of you oppose the payment to the charitable trust and object to the SCV displaying the monument anywhere. I understand, appreciate and empathize with those sentiments.
The settlement ensures the monument will never return to campus, but issues of racism and injustice persist, and the University must confront them. I now want to focus on our shared values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and I will continue to reject and condemn those individuals or groups who seek to divide us. We have a lot of work to do to thoroughly address and reconcile with our past.
As you know, the Campus Safety Commission was convened in May, the Reckoning Shared Learning Initiative began this fall and the Commission on History, Race and A Way Forward will launch in January. As a result of continued conversations with many of our students, faculty and staff over the past several months, I am announcing today that in the coming weeks, I will establish a fund that will more comprehensively support the important work necessary to boldly transform our campus and build our community together.
If you have more questions about the settlement and process, please see this FAQ.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz