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University Urged to Use Funds to Increase Diversity, Inclusion

Chapel Hill, NC (May 14, 2020) – Today, following the Orange County Superior Court’s recent dismissal of North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. v. UNC and UNC Board of Governors, 19 CVS 1579, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law withdrew the appeal of the court’s denial of the motion to intervene filed on behalf of six UNC University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) students and a faculty member. The purpose of their intervention was to expose the fictitious and collusive nature of the lawsuit, get the court to dismiss it, and return the $2.5 million and the Confederate monument known as “Silent Sam” to the University. 

Although the court denied them their right to be parties in the case, the students and faculty member were allowed to participate as amici, or “friends of the court.”  The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law represented them. Since the Sons of Confederate Veterans had no ownership interest in the monument and therefore no “standing” to sue the Univerity, the Lawyers’ Committee argued, the case should be dismissed and the funds and monument returned. The court agreed.

“It is time now for UNC to do what students and faculty have been asking for more than a decade: destroy this monument to white supremacy so that it may never again be displayed,” said De’Ivyion Drew, a rising junior at UNC-Chapel Hill and one of the movant-intervenors. “As for the balance of the $2.5 million that has been returned to UNC, we call on UNC-Chapel Hill to invest that money and match it, dollar for dollar, in funds to support diversity and racial inclusion on campus and in the broader community.” 

“Thanks to our courageous clients and the 88 distinguished alumni who joined them, we are celebrating the victory that this fictitious and collusive lawsuit has finally been dismissed and that the monument and most of the $2.5 million has been returned to the University,” said Elizabeth Haddix, Managing Attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “We hope that the University will do as our clients have asked and dedicate $5 million to address the legacy of race discrimination.”