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UNC Chancellor Carol Folt announces resignation, removal of Silent Sam base

Just months after protesters toppled Silent Sam at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt announced that she will resign.

Folt—who previously faced protests for her and the Board of Trustees' proposed plan to house the Confederate monument on campus in a $5.3 million facility—wrote in a university release that she will give up the post at the conclusion of the spring semester. However, after the Board of Governors was taken by surprise by her announcement, they voted to push her resignation to be effective Jan. 31, according to the Daily Tar Heel

“I’ve decided that this is the right time for me to pass the leadership of our outstanding university, with all its momentum, to the next chancellor, and look ahead for my own 'new and next,’” wrote Folt, who has been Chancellor of the university since 2013. 

After years of controversy, protesters toppled the Confederate monument on UNC’s campus in August, with police arresting several participants. 

In December, Folt and the Board of Trustees proposed that monument be placed in an on-campus “free-standing building with state-of-the-art security” at a $5.3 million price tag. The Board of Governors shot that plan down a few days later for “public safety” reasons. Revised recommendations for what to do with the monument are due in March. 

In the release, Folt also wrote that she had authorized the removal of the base of the monument and corresponding plaques, which remain where Silent Sam once stood before it was forcibly pulled down.

“The presence of the remaining parts of the monument on campus poses a continuing threat both to the personal safety and well-being of our community and to our ability to provide a stable, productive educational environment,” Folt wrote. “No one learns at their best when they feel unsafe.” 

Update: The statue's base has been removed. This story has also been updated to reflect that Folt will now leave effective January 31, 2019. 

Check back for updates to this developing story. 

Silent Sam's base was pulled down overnight at UNC. Jake Sheridan

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