As news outlets were shutting down for Thanksgiving, the University of North Carolina quietly gave white nationalists $2.5m to settle a lawsuit that hadn't even been filed

The supposed basis is detailed in this thread:

tl;dr –

  • In 1913, the United Daughters of the Confederacy presented the Silent Sam statue to the University of North Carolina. In a speech marking that presentation, a UDC official expressed the wish that it should “stand forever as a perpetual memorial”.

  • The UDC says this was a condition of the gift, any breach of which would cause ownership of the statue to revert to the UDC. It holds that such a breach occurred in January 2019, when the university removed the statue from its plinth.

  • The UDC subsequently transferred its purported rights in the statue to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

  • Bingo, lawsuit!

Mr Muller calls bullshit on the above, mostly because gift conditions of that sort typically have to be made crystal-clear in writing, rather than in a throwaway comment in a speech; but also because it seems the sculptor who created the statue was contracted directly by the university, not the UDC.


That’s not quite accurate. 99.999% of the time, a settlement agreement (whether pre- or post-suit) contains a release that binds both the parties.

That said, nothing about this makes sense, from the timing to the lack of clarity on what the allegations against the school supposedly were (i.e. what their potential liability could even be in theory) so who the hell knows in such a clusterfuck.


The problem comes in enforcing such releases. Many of them pre-suit easily fail from being overbroad. Without the confines of a Complaint to define the nature of the claims being alleged, it can easily go into unenforceable territory.

This sounds like a payoff that they were unable to successfully hide.


Doucette also notes that UNC’s general counsel is Tom Shanahan, who was also implicated in a coverup of serious misconduct by East Carolina University chancellor Dan Gerlach that ended with Gerlach resigning in disgrace.

Let’s hope that Tom Shanahan is a successful in this situation as he was in covering up Dan Gerlach’s stuff.


installing the “traitors’ flag” of the Confederacy

Hey now, call it what it really is. A losers flag.


“East Carolina University” doesn’t seem any stranger a concept than “University of Southern California,” which is generally accepted as a legit institution (unless you’re a Bruins fan).


This is pretty much the only thing needed to be said.

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Offer a free trip to the firing squad, because that’s how we deal with traitors and terrorists.

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Based on what evidence?

The evidence of how a lot of wealthy old white male alumni of southern universities usually react to incidents of racism and sexism at their alma maters.


And, money being fungible, this means that those programs that $2.5m would have gone to will now have shortfalls, which will have to be covered by … (you guessed it) state money.


Damn, but boingboing is valuable. I had to do the search function on both the Post and Times to find the story at all. Few comments on the Post story (none allowed at NYT) because so few people saw it. So thanks for calling it out.

This is the kind of “hot button” issue that the right loves to make into big news, as if a great deal hinged on whatever symbolic offense (insulting tweet by black professor, etc) was being hyped.

I’m not saying that the major dailies should have made a big story of this, only that if there were a left-wing press that had the influence of the right, they’d have had no choice, because the biased press would be treating it like a major event and pointing out the “bias” inherent in keeping it way below the fold.

It could still become a big story, but that depends on the students at UNC; they’ll have to show up to school with protest signs at ready and make a fuss.


Same concept as Western Michigan University.

If you have been sending settlement funds without entering in to legally binding agreements, then you have been receiving some absolutely terrible legal advice.

Edited to add: I see this was already briefly discussed, so I probably shouldn’t have bothered commenting just to make the same point. Leaving this here as a reminder to myself to read the full thread before commenting.


I wonder if “Silent Sam” is one of these.

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Nope. He was/is a custom job which is in part why the 190x Jim Crow Era Daughters had trouble raising the funds to get him made. UNC, at the time, paid the difference. That’s part of the argument that UDC never really owned him in the first place.

Establishing a Confederate monument at a Southern university became a goal of the North Carolina chapter of the [United Daughters of the Confederacy]( (UDC) in 1907. UNC approved the group's request in 1908 and, with funding from UNC alumni, the UDC and the university, Wilson designed the statue, using a young Boston man as his model. At the unveiling on June 2, 1913, local industrialist and UNC Trustee [Julian Carr] gave a speech espousing [white supremacy] while Governor [Locke Craig] and UNC President [Francis Venable] and members of the [UDC] praised the sacrifices made by students who volunteered to fight for the Confederacy.

Damn plinths are expensive these days. What did they (University of North Carolina) do with the old one?

Per Wikipedia, the school was created in 1905 as a geographical balance to the State Normal and Industrial College (located in the western part of the state, and now known as UNC-Greensboro).

And if you want some real geographical confusion, try the California University of Pennsylvania.


I’ve been confused ever since discovering that despite the university where they shot the students there is in fact no Kent State.

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