Silent Sam Statement 12/6/18
The faculty of the Department of Geography call for Silent Sam not to be placed in a new building on our campus as recently proposed by the Board of Trustees. As geographers we challenge our students to consider the importance of cultural landscapes and built environments in reflecting and shaping our identities, social relations, and communities. We study symbolic landscapes as contested settings in which the politics of inclusion and exclusion have taken form, and as places that have served as staging grounds for political movements. We believe that displaying Silent Sam on campus in a place of prominence contradicts values of diversity, social justice and anti-violence that our discipline embraces, and the values of lux libertas, and guarantee of inclusion, mandated as the nation’s first public university. The proposed display of the monument would be damaging to all of us who share this campus, and would disproportionately jeopardize the wellbeing of students with marginalized identities. In light of recent events, we believe that the monument’s presence on campus also raises legitimate concerns of student and staff safety and security. We join the call for UNC to end the celebration of racism and white supremacy that this statue represents.