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Daily Tar Heel sues UNC Board of Governors over Silent Sam settlement

The DTH Media Corporation, the non-profit that operates UNC-Chapel Hill’s Daily Tar Heel student newspaper, has sued the UNC Board of Governors over the controversial Silent Sam settlement.

The suit, filed Tuesday, alleges violations of the North Carolina Open Meetings Law in the way the board approved deals that led not only to the University system giving the Silent Sam Confederate monument and $2.5 million to the Sons of Confederate veterans but further paying $74,999 to the group to secure an agreement that it would not use Confederate flags in on-campus protests.

“Both agreements with the SCV were conceived, negotiated, approved and executed in total secrecy in violation of the Open Meetings Law,” the suit states. “Owing to the defendants’ multiple violations of the Open Meetings Law, neither the plaintiff nor the public knew or could have known about either transaction until the afternoon of November 27, 2019, when the individual defendants disclosed it in an op-ed piece published by The News & Observer.”

The suit asks the court to “declare null and void, and set aside, certain actions taken and agreements entered into by defendants The University of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in violation of the Open Meetings Law.”

The suit comes after Orange County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour last month rejected a legal intervention into the Silent Sam settlement by students and faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill, but said he would be re-examining several parts of the settlement. That will include whether the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the group the UNC System gave $2.5 million and the Silent Sam Confederate monument, had standing to sue the university system in the first place.

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