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Confederate statue on UNC-CH campus vandalized again

Posted August 18, 2015

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— For the second time six weeks, vandals have spray-painted the "Silent Sam" statue on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

"Who is Sandra Bland?" was painted overnight on the base of the statue, which honors school alumni who fought for the Confederacy and died in the Civil War. The graffiti refers to a black Texas woman who died in jail last month days after she was arrested in a confrontation with a Texas state trooper. Authorities say she committed suicide in custody, but her family and others across the nation have questioned the events surrounding her death.

Over the July 4 weekend, someone spray-painted "KKK" and "Murderer" on the statue.

UNC-Chapel Hill students were divided Tuesday on the effect of the graffiti.

"This is a big symbol for the campus. The fact that it's the symbol of the Confederacy, something that was an anti-black movement, I think it's the perfect spot to put any display of 'Black Lives Matter,'" junior Nykeya King said.

"I think there are better ways to go about voicing your opinion," sophomore John Taylor said. "Defacing any monument, it takes away the good things that we can learn from this."

UNC-Chapel Hill spokesman Jim Gregory called the vandalism "unfortunate."

"Over the past few days, hundreds of faculty, staff and members of the Carolina community have come together to welcome first-year students and returning students. This is what Carolina is all about, and this includes our commitment to free speech and open dialogue on all issues, no matter how emotional and at times painful," Gregory said in a statement. "Vandalism like this is unfortunate because it is the antithesis of open discussion and the traditions and principles for which the University stands."

But Sara Smith, assistant professor of geography, took her Politics of Everyday Life class out to view the graffiti, calling it a teachable moment.

"Part of our class is understanding how space and place are political and that even places we pass by every day provide a moment to think about our relation to the world and other people," Smith said. "I wanted us to talk about what the monument means to different groups of people and how different people might understand the symbolism."

25 Comments

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  • Chris Hickman Aug 19, 2015
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    They don't realize they aren't making any statements. All they are showing is how immature they are. I would say they are acting like children but that would be an insult to kids cause children are more mature than these people. I'm sure if someone vandalized a Martin Luther King Jr statue you wouldn't ever hear the end of it

  • Johan Summer Aug 18, 2015
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    Indeed - I find it very hard to believe no one has been identified yet for doing this on the UNC campus. Law enforcement - get on this! This is a crime. And heck yes - if a statue of MLK was vandalized,, there would be protests, looting, and laying down of bodies across highways again! Tired of this mess!

  • Johan Summer Aug 18, 2015
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    That female student that said that the monument was a good place to display "Black lives matter" obviously doesn't know that vandalism is a crime. Regardless of your opinion of the statue, it is currently on state property, and should be protected for that reason. If it means something specific to someone - that does NOT mean that their opinion is the one that trumps all others. These crimes need to stop - and these criminals need to be caught and prosecuted !

  • Brent Phares Aug 18, 2015
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    This is not the same thing as the flag issue or at least it isn't to me. This is vandalism of public property which even people sympathetic to their cause, such as myself, do not like.

  • Gary Christian Aug 18, 2015
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    And please stop saying people who don't like the flag or believe it stands for what you think it stands for needs a history lesson because history for a lot of us wasn't that good back then. I always hear people saying black people fought for the confederate army. If you believe they had a choice that's funny. if they said no, you think the confederate army was going to be like ok head on back to the plantation then we'll take care of it have a nice day sir. Then people say the civil war wasn't about slavery it was about states rights. then when you ask them what states rights they never include the states rights to own slaves. since slavery is to far back for some people lets talk about the jim crow era. why were people holding up rebel flags at protest when schools were being integrated?So if you want me to respect the flag and the people who fought for it that's not happening! But you by all means can do what you want just make sure to distance yourself from people who you say misus

  • Gary Christian Aug 18, 2015
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    The reason why a lot of people of all races believe that the Confederate flag ( or the confederate battle which people want to call it all of a sudden) stands for racism is because every time a racist organization or racist people use the flag to support their racist views nobody stops them and says hey that flag doesn't represent that so stop tarnishing it. I personally have never seen someone say this. A lot of people say it's stands for southern pride & heritage. When you say this a lot of people have to separate from that because it has nothing to do with them or their families heritage. And they feel no pride at all looking at it. Let's be real this is a flag that represents southern white heritage & pride! And if it truly means that then you shouldn't have sit back and let SCUM Destroy the image of the flag!!!! There's nothing wrong with being proud to be white. But when people give you or something you love a bad image you need to alienate them before people associ

  • John Snow Aug 18, 2015
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    Justifiably so.

  • Brent Phares Aug 18, 2015
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    They definitely are not doing themselves any favors by doing this.

  • Joe Welch Aug 18, 2015
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    oh no Mr Schmuck, that'd be racist.

  • Honey Pointer Aug 18, 2015
    user avatar

    Pray tell--where oh where is the DOJ and its many investigators busily investigating this situation--a racist hate crime at a minimum.
    When will the local law enforcement identify and arrest the vandals?? Double standard is the mildest term that can be used...There are going to be paybacks of some sort or fashion--people are tired of this kind of mess.

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