The Confederate memorial at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was vandalized this weekend with the words “murderer” and “black lives matter.”
Erected in 1913, the statue depicting UNC figure “Silent Sam” honors more than 300 UNC students who died during the Civil War.
UNC Silent Sam vandalized pic.twitter.com/lhFLysVsTP
— Josh Lockhart (@codeguy) July 5, 2015
The university released a statement denouncing the use of vandalism to destroy public property.
“We understand that the issue of race and place is both emotional and, for many, painful. Carolina is working hard to ensure we have a thoughtful, respectful and inclusive dialogue on the issue. We welcome all points of view, but damaging or defacing statues is not the way to go about it,” the statement read.
The memorial has been the subject of controversy on campus, according to a report by Time.
In December 2014, a vandal put a plastic hood over the statue’s head and left a length of rope by its feet.
The vandalism came as no surprise to the Sons of the Confederacy. One of its members told ABC’s affiliate WTVD 11 that he was keeping watch over the statue until about 11 p.m. Saturday night, expecting someone would do something to it around July 4.
Kirsten Adams, a student at the University of North Carolina, believes the statue ostracizes her from the community.
“As an African-American woman, who is a student here, that statue is the very statue that pretty much says I don’t belong here, that I shouldn’t be here,” the UNC student told ABC 11.
“It is a relevant statue, and so it should be there, on the other hand if we keep Silent Sam up, if we keep all these halls named after these racists, it’s like we’re celebrating the racism so you kind of have to draw a line somewhere, she said.”
Police are currently investigating the situation.