UNC uproots historic 'Silent Sam' pedestal from campus overnight

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — After months of heated debate, the chancellor of North Carolina's flagship public university authorized the removal of the "Silent Sam" pedestal where a Confederate statue stood until protesters tore it down.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, just hours after University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt's announcement, crews descended upon McCorkle Place to haul the pedestal away.

"I appreciate the Chancellor's actions to keep students and the public safe. North Carolina is welcoming to all, and our public university should reflect that," said Gov. Roy Cooper.

Folt also announced to the campus Monday that she will step down at the end of the school year.

Police could be seen roping off the area around the pedestal Monday night. It was then removed with a crane and placed on the back of a flatbed.

A crowd gathered around to watch and cheered as the final traces of the "Silent Sam" statue were removed.

Folt said safety was among the reasons for removing it. The empty base had continued to draw protesters for and against the statue.

Folt said the items will be stored while their fate is decided.

Past coverage on Silent Sam:

The statue was torn down last year by protesters who called its origins racist. It was later put in temporary storage. Officials have not said where the statue will go now that it has been taken down.

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