This week’s big news story on the Silent Sam Confederate monument is the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees recommendation for a $5.3 million center in which to house the controversial statue.
The notion of the statue’s return to campus in a special university history center – which will cost $800,000 a year to operate – didn’t land well with students, staff and faculty.
But the movement of people opposing the statue may want to reserve some outrage for other recommendations in the report released Monday.
In a summary of the findings of a panel of security professionals, the report suggests the creation of “at least one” 40-member “mobile force platoon” – a standing force of law enforcement officers who can travel to whichever university may be experiencing large-scale protests.
The cost of creating such a force? Two million dollars a year, plus $500,000 in equipment.
That line about “recent decisions of some Orange County judges” adding to security risks appears to be a reference to the dismissal of the case against a UNC lecturer charged with simple assault at the August rally at which the Silent Sam statue was toppled and a judge declining to punish Maya Little, a UNC graduate student who splashed blood and red paint on the statue.
The UNC Board of Governors, which expanded punishments related to protests under a new campus speech policy last year, is likely to take the mobile force recommendations very seriously.
The board meets next week, during which it will discuss the UNC-Chapel Hill trustees’ recommendations.