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UNC won’t act on statue of Confederate soldier at flagship

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CHAPEL HILL, NC - AUGUST 22: Demonstrators rally for the removal of a Confederate statue, coined Silent Sam, on the campus of the University of Chapel Hill on August 22, 2017 in Chapel Hill North Carolina. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  — The University of North Carolina Board of Governors will do nothing, for now, about an embattled Confederate monument on the public university system’s flagship campus.

The News & Observer reports board chairman Harry Smith said in a Friday statement neither UNC-Chapel Hill nor the UNC system has legal authority to relocate the Confederate soldier statue known as “Silent Sam.” He cited a 2015 state law that bars moving historical monuments except in a few cases. Relocation proponents say repeated vandalism is grounds for moving it under the law.

Smith had initially said after the meeting that he expected to have conversations about the statue following pressure from the university community. But hours later, his statement said the board will do nothing while it awaits the North Carolina Historical Commission’s guidance.

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