UNC-Chapel Hill students create ‘anti-racist’ alert system

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CHAPEL HILL, NC (WNCN) – Some students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been edge, after they say pro-confederate groups have come on campus with guns recently.

Ever since protesters toppled the Silent Sam confederate monument last year, different pro-confederate groups have been making their presence known on campus.

Back in March, the leader of the group Heirs to the Confederacy came on campus openly carrying a gun on his belt.

“The administration didn’t issue any type of alert and so no one knew that it was happening,” said Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student and activist.

Ayling argues that students should have been notified about the group’s presence.

“When confederate groups and racist groups are coming to campus with guns we know the people that they are most likely to target,” Ayling said. “I think that their presence here is incredibly dangerous.”

In an effort to better protect the campus community, Ayling and some other student activists took the matter into their own hands and worked with a software developer to create an anti-racist alert system on their own.

The system is run by a small group of student activists who will send out alerts if a pro-confederate or racist group is spotted on campus.

“If one of our friends tells us, ‘Oh I saw some people with confederate flags over in McCorkle place,’ then one of us can check and confirm if it is real,” Ayling said.

Students can subscribe to receive the alerts by texting 919-629-0185. Ayling said so far they have more than 1,000 subscribers.

Ayling said she hopes this is not something they have to use too often, but they want to be prepared for the worst. 

“I hope there will never be a situation where a racist opens fire on UNC students, but unfortunately that is a possibility,” Ayling said. “I think that it speaks to the capability of the community to defend itself, even when the administration and police are not willing to defend the students of UNC.”

CBS 17 News reached out to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a comment. However, a spokesperson said that since this is not a university account, they would not have a comment.

Lance Spivey, leader of the Heirs to the Confederacy group, sent CBS 17 News the following statement in regards to the new UNC anti-racist alert system:

“I realize that the “Anti-Racist Alert System” set up by students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is aimed at me and my group, but it doesn’t at all affect any events we may hold in Chapel Hill in the future, nor does it accurately describe us.  We are not racists, and we will not be deterred by inaccurate descriptions or an “alert system” (laughable) of any type.  The people who oppose us in Chapel Hill, the people participating in this “alert system,” are hate-filled pawns of persons with anti-American agendas.”

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