Students back in NC court over $2.5M payment in Confederate statue case

North Carolina news

FILE – In this Aug. 20, 2018, file photo, police stand guard after the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. The university announced Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, that a torn-down Confederate monument won’t return to campus under a legal agreement that hands over the “Silent Sam” statue to a group of Confederate descendants. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – A national civil rights organization has filed an appeal on behalf of University of North Carolina students who want to intervene in the settlement that gives $2.5 million and a statue to a Confederate dissidents’ group.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed the appeal on behalf of five students and a faculty member who want to intervene in the deal between the UNC Board of Governors and the North Carolina Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans regarding the statue of the Confederate soldier known as “Silent Sam.”

An attorney for the Confederate group says he hasn’t seen the appeal and can’t comment. 

On Dec. 20, a judge denied the initial motion to intervene in a $2.5 million settlement between the University of North Carolina and the Sons of Confederate Veterans in reference to “Silent Sam.”

The motion was filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in an effort stop the $2.5 million settlement between UNC and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The judge’s decision came as he said there was a lack of standing in the case by the plaintiffs.

The attorneys for the civil rights group argued that the Silent Sam statue and this settlement have caused a hostile learning environment for these students and this settlement is a slap in the face. They argued that the Silent Sam monument is a symbol of hatred and ignorance.

But UNC’s attorneys questioned how this settlement has caused injury. They argued that this settlement is what allowed the statue to come down and its what keeps it from going back up. Even though the plaintiffs talked about this settlement devaluing education and causing harm to emotional health, there were no concrete injuries that showed any actual loss.

CBS 17 spoke with some students who the civil rights group filed the motion for. They argued that they do have standing in this case because they attend school at the institution that handed $2.5 million over to a white supremacist group.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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