• Staff Report

Engstrom Discusses "Silent Sam" with Daily Tar Heel

Engstrom spoke to the Daily Tar Heel today about legal issues surrounding "Silent Sam," a confederate monument on the campus of the University of North Carolina:

“The only legal way to remove a monument permanently at this point is for the General Assembly to say 'remove the monument',” Elliot Engstrom, a fellow at Elon School of Law, said.

Engstrom said although a request to remove the statue requires approval from the N.C. Historical Commission, they don't have much power to make a decision.

“Essentially, yes, the commission exists, but it has little-to-no discretion," he said. "The ultimate decision-making authority ultimately rests with the General Assembly."

...Engstrom said if the University did take down the monument, it may be in violation of the Heritage Protection Act, but it is unlikely to face legal consequences.

“Practically speaking, if the University were to take down the statue, I don’t see Governor Cooper or Attorney General (Josh) Stein going after them for that,” he said. “I just don’t think that would happen. I think what you could see would be some backlash from the legislature.”

See the entire piece here.

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