Unwise and imprudent
As the current and former chairs of the Board of Trustees, we are writing to address misinformation about the state law governing the Confederate Monument, commonly referred to as Silent Sam, and to express our support for the ways the chancellor and the university have been handling this complex matter.
We are making this statement because we are surprised and disappointed at the misinterpretations and false narratives regarding the university’s legal options on this situation.
Our Office of University Counsel and UNC General Administration have advised Chancellor Carol L. Folt that the University does not have the legal authority to move the monument, and the Board agrees with that interpretation of the law, North Carolina General Statute 100-2.1.
Furthermore, we have received guidance from Louis Bissette Jr., chair of the UNC Board of Governors, agreeing with our assertion that, despite a differing opinion from the governor, we have not been given the green light by anyone with authority to relocate the statue. Any suggestion that we have unilateral authority is inaccurate. Any legal options available to us will be guided by discussions with the Board of Governors.
Above all, regardless of the circumstance, the chancellor has a responsibility to the people of North Carolina to uphold all state laws. With this new law, it is relatively easy for many individuals to speculate about its meaning or offer possible loopholes as ways to operate around the law. It would be unwise and imprudent for the University to take any action regarding the monument without additional legal clarity, and we would expect no less from our chancellor. Moreover, the University will enforce all policies regarding signage and the proper use of grounds and facilities. A consistent application of policy is critical to ensuring a functional, daily operation of the University.
Finally, the Board of Trustees has been deeply involved in these discussions and deliberations, and wishes to acknowledge our full support of Chancellor Folt’s fearless and decisive leadership, her unwavering commitment to the safety of our campus community and the long tradition of open and respectful debate on our campus.
Haywood D. Cochrane, Chair
Dwight D. Stone, Former Chair (2015-2017)
W. Lowry Caudill, Former Chair (2013-2015)
Richard Y. Stevens, Former Chair (1997-1999)
For diversity and justice
In the aftermath of the events of August 11 and 12 in Charlottesville, Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) reaffirms its condemnation of white supremacy and racism, names them as sin, and renews its commitment to disrupting them and working for justice and equity.
We give thanks for the presence and faithful witness of church members who stand against white supremacy and racism. We acknowledge that Scripture has been misused to justify white supremacy and racism. However, we proclaim that the Bible’s message presents a far more consistent and insistent witness to God’s love for diversity and justice. White supremacy and racism stand in stark, irreconcilable contradiction to God’s intention for humanity. We acknowledge and confess the church’s failure in challenging and disrupting white supremacy and racism. Too often we have stood silent in the face of injustice and oppression.
By God’s grace may we remember the events in Charlottesville; repent of our failures; and renew our commitment to proclaim and live the good news of Jesus Christ.
May it be so. Amen.
The Rev. Lynn Stall
Interim Pastor and the Session
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
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