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The cost of securing “Silent Sam”

As the controversy over Confederate monuments  heads to the North Carolina Historical Commission on Sept. 22, we thought it was worth asking the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill what it costs to secure “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument that has become the most recent flash point in the controversy.

MC VanGraafeiland, media relations manager for the university, said it can be difficult to separate the cost of patrols and surveillance related to the statue from the larger security of McCorkle Place, the historical heart of the campus that includes the quad and “Silent Sam.”

But between 2014 and July of this year, the university has spent $41,000 on maintenance, upkeep and security of the monument, VanGraafeiland said.

That includes cleaning up after multiple instances of vandalism.

“In at least once case, the University spent more than $17,000 to remove the paint and seal the statue and monument,” VanGraafeiland said.

In the wake of deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA and the toppling of  Robert E. Lee statue in Durham,  the question fo how to deal with “Silent Sam” has caused controversy on the UNC Board of Governors and divided members of the N.C. Historical Commission. The commission will need to approve any moving or removing of historical monuments, according to a 2015 law.

This week UNC students threatened a federal lawsuit if the statue is not removed.

 

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