In the wake of the recent act of civil disobedience at Silent Sam by UNC graduate worker and union member, Maya Little, the Workers Union at UNC urges the University administration to take responsibility for the continued presence of the statue on campus and the danger it poses to students and workers. We cannot endorse this nonviolent act of protest by an individual union member, but we condemn any legal or academic repercussions for Maya by the University or law enforcement.
In addition, we demand that the university administration not task its maintenance, housekeepers, facilities, or any other campus employees to clean up the statue: the responsibility of the statue lies with Chancellor Folt.
The Workers Union at UNC has already released a statement condemning the presence of the white supremacist statue, Silent Sam. To reiterate some of our concerns, the University has failed to respond to renewed peaceful student and worker protesters this year—and for the last 50 years—who have shared their concerns and demands surrounding the statue. Instead of removing the statue, the University and Carol Folt have surveilled students and workers for peacefully protesting. Instead of removing the statue, the University and Carol Folt have spent $1,700 a day to maintain the statue while underpaying its workers, divesting from the Poverty and Civil Rights Centers, and cutting funding from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Instead of removing the statue, the University and Carol Folt have kept its students and workers in danger of white supremacist groups and individuals who have made violent threats against peaceful protesters and use this statue as a rallying point for their beliefs and actions.