As individual graduate students in the Department of Classics, we stand in uncompromising solidarity with Maya Little and fully support her brave act of civil disobedience at Silent Sam.
As students of antiquity, we understand that monuments must be viewed in their historical context. Maya’s action was a necessary response to the university administration’s refusal to acknowledge the racist context of Silent Sam. The statue was a gift from an overtly white supremacist group and was dedicated at UNC by Julian Carr, an open supporter of the Ku Klux Klan. This evidence is indisputable. Silent Sam will be a testament to white supremacy for as long as it stands in a position of honor on our campus.
The administration’s continuing protection of Silent Sam with university-funded police presence and surveillance reveals a disregard for black students, staff, and faculty at UNC. Furthermore, the administration’s purposeful suppression of student and community protesters speaks to the insincerity of Chancellor Folt’s recent statements regarding free speech. We are committed to challenging the administration for as long as it continues to protect symbols of white supremacy and perpetuate institutional racism at our university. As such, we present the following demands:
- We demand that Carol Folt and her administration take any action necessary to remove Silent Sam.
- We demand that the university not take any legal or disciplinary action against Maya Little for her act of civil disobedience.
- We demand that the campus workers who cleaned Silent Sam be fairly compensated for their labor—a labor which should have been undertaken by the university administrators whose negligence compelled Maya to take action.
- We demand that UNC’s trustees remove the 16 year moratorium on renaming campus buildings in order to ensure that all monuments to white supremacy can be removed from our campus.
- We demand that the administration take additional action to address institutional racism.
Classicist Stephen Blair recently wrote, “The presence of a Confederate memorial tells the world what we were; its removal tells the world what we’ve decided no longer to be.” We wholeheartedly agree that the removal of Silent Sam speaks not to a refusal of the past, but to a good-faith effort toward creating a more just future. We will continue to press the university on all issues of institutional racism and stand by those who seek to remove the traces of white supremacy from our campus.
Kelly McArdle Hannah Sorscher India Watkins
Keith Penich Katelin McCullough Sarah Eisenlohr
Matthew Schueller Melanie Godsey Katie Tardio
Rachael Dodd Emma Warhover Bryanna Lloyd
Andrew Ficklin Nathan Israel Smolin Amanda Ball
Brian McPhee Emma Buckingham