Confederate group has 45 days to return ‘Silent Sam’ to UNC

North Carolina

FILE – In this Aug. 20, 2018 file photo, police stand guard after the confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. Judge Allen Baddour ruled Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 that the Sons of Confederate Veterans didn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit that led to the hastily arranged deal that gave them possession of the statue known as Silent Sam, along with $2.5 million to maintain it. He vacated the deal and also dismissed the underlying lawsuit brought by the SCV. Critics had questioned how the deal was quietly struck with the UNC Board of Governors and approved just before Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — A judge imposed a 45-day deadline on the Sons of Confederate Veterans to return the Silent Sam statue to the University of North Carolina.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour also ruled that the group must return the remaining balance of a $2.5 million trust fund that the university’s board of governors set up to preserve the statue.

The judge filed the written order on Thursday after a ruling last week that overturned the board’s highly-criticized settlement giving the monument and the money to the Confederate heritage group.

Baddour ruled that the Sons of Confederate Veterans has no legal claim to the statue, or standing to bring the lawsuit. That means the University of North Carolina system still owns Silent Sam and will again need to figure out what to do with it.

The statue stood on the Chapel Hill campus for more than 100 years until protesters toppled it in August 2018. Critics say it symbolizes racism and white supremacist views, while supporters argue it honored the memory of ancestors who died in the Civil War.

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