University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt on Monday announced that she will resign after graduation this spring. She also said, in the announcement on the university's website, that she has authorized the plaques and base from the campus' controversial "Silent Sam" Confederate monument be removed intact.
"There has been too much recent disruption due to the monument controversy," Folt said in the announcement. "Carolina’s leadership needs to return its full attention to helping our University achieve its vision and to live its values."
The confederate statue, known as "Silent Sam," had stood on a main campus quad from 1913 until it was torn down in August 2018 during a rally by hundreds of protesters who decried what they described as its racist origins. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper had called for the removal of "Silent Sam," but said he did not approve of the statue's destruction. Folt was among the UNC leaders who had previously said state law prevented the school from removing the statue.
In December 2018, the UNC Board of Governors rejected the university’s plan to build a $5.3 million history center to house the Confederate monument on campus. The Board of Governors formed a committee and gave it a March 15 deadline to devise an alternative plan.
The statue has been kept at an undisclosed location since it was taken down. Folt said in her resignation she was also authorizing removal of its base and commemorative plaques.
The remaining parts of the monument pose "a continuing threat both to the personal safety and well-being of our community and to our ability to provide a stable, productive educational environment," she wrote. "As chancellor, the safety of the UNC-Chapel Hill community is my clear, unequivocal and non-negotiable responsibility."
Folt became chancellor of the university in 2013.