A memorial at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill was defaced with racist graffiti over the weekend, but a pro-Confederate group denies being involved.
Police say the Unsung Founders’ Memorial, which was erected to honor people of color who helped build the university, was vandalized early Sunday morning. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, a campus officer discovered the vandalism and a motorist also reported it to a different campus security official.
Though the police have been mum about what the graffiti said, they have issued to arrest warrants to two individuals they believe may be responsible. The News & Observer reported that campus officials believed one of the suspects seen on surveillance footage is affiliated with the group Heirs to the Confederacy.
With news circulating that a member of their Confederacy group could be responsible for the vandalism, which campus officials say contained “racist language”, K. Lancy Spivey, the chairman of the organization, issued a statement refuting claims that they were involved.
“Neither myself nor the Board of Directors ever has or ever would sanction such an act; it goes against everything we stand for,” Spivey wrote to the Harold-Sun on Monday. “If these acts of vandalism were in fact committed by any member(s) of Heirs, then the perpetrator(s) were acting on their own, in a renegade capacity and unsanctioned by the Board of Directors.”
The News & Observer also noted that the marble monument is near the site where the infamous Silent Sam confederate statue once stood until protesters took it down last August. And though the police have been tight-lipped about the details of the case, activist and UNC PhD student, Maya Little says the graffiti was aimed toward her.
I was told today by my lawyer that something in regards to my name was spraypainted on a monument. UNC has not officially contacted me even though I am a PhD student nor told anything else to my lawyer. They didn't tell him what was written, nor have they told any of you
— Maya (@readkropotkin) April 1, 2019
Little was accused of smearing blood on the Silent Sam statue before it was taken down, but the judge decided not to sentence the activist.
Following the graffiti incident, the UNC Chancellor, Kevin Guskiewicz, released a statement to students and staff members, stating:
“These events challenge not only our most fundamental community values, but also the safety of our campus. Lawless behavior will not be tolerated, and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions.”
The News & Observer also reported that this incident was proceeded by Spivey being spotted on campus with a gun back in March. Spivey claimed it was for a “flagging event,” but campus police asked him and his group to leave campus, which they did.