CHAPEL HILL — UNC-Chapel Hill students say they've found what appears to be the temporary resting place of Silent Sam: in a university storage yard, wrapped in tarps.
UNC-CH student Charlotte Ix said her roommate tipped her off to the location of the Confederate statue in May. Ix visited the storage yard a week ago and saw this, according to her published report:
"Ix saw a large, metal figure covered with a brown tarp. It appeared to be the Silent Sam statue lying on its back with its rifle pointed towards the sky.
"Behind the figure is something large and rectangular, wrapped in a blue tarp. It matches the size of the pedestal that the soldier was mounted on.
"Beside the figure were three stone squares sitting uncovered. The stones matched the statue’s base which once supported the pedestal. The tallest stone is clearly missing what it once supported."
Ix published her report and photographs Saturday on the website of Carolina Connection, the radio newsmagazine put out by students in the university's journalism school.
When a reporter from the Daily Tar Heel, the university's student newspaper, visited the site later that day, UNC-CH police officers were outside the facility.
"The DTH can't confirm that these objects are Silent Sam, but their size and shape resemble the statue and the base when they were taken down. According to the Carolina Connection article, UNC Director of Media Relations Joanne Peters Denny said in an email she was unable to identify what was in the photo."
The News & Observer of Raleigh also reported Saturday that a university spokesperson declined to identify what was covered by tarps in the storage area or why there were police officers nearby.
Silent Sam, a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier, was erected on the UNC-CH campus in 1913. Protesters pulled down the statue in August 2018. Former chancellor Carol Folt ordered the removal of the statue's base in January. Since then, the statue and its base have been hidden away — until now, apparently.
People opposed to the statue's presence have called it a monument to white supremacy and demanded its removal. A state law passed in 2015 forbid the permanent removal of historic statues, memorials and other markers from public property.
The UNC System's Board of Governors has twice delayed decisions about Silent Sam's fate. The board has assigned that task to a committee of five board members.