Multiple media outlets report that about two dozen protesters rose at the start of the proceedings Monday and shouted about the statue, calling it a glorified symbol of slavery. The protesters walked out, to a smattering of applause inside a packed Memorial Hall.
The statue has been vandalized several times in recent months. The university is undertaking a process to curate its history and recommend new signs with more context about campus landmarks.
"Silent Sam" honors 321 UNC students who died fighting for the South in the Civil War. He is called "silent" because he carries a gun but no bullets.
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