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Interim UNC President Does Not Want 'Silent Sam' To Return, Says Calm Is Priority

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Updated 1:40 p.m. Friday

Interim UNC System President William Roper denounced Friday the toppling of Confederate monument "Silent Sam" - but also said he does not want the statue to return to its spot on Chapel Hill's campus.

Addressing the UNC Board of Governors for the first time since his predecessor, Margaret Spellings, and UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt were pushed out, Roper said that his priorities include preventing professors and researchers from being distracted by problems swirling around the system.

In his 10 days since taking over, Roper said he has been focused on finding a substitute for Folt.

Folt announced in January that she would step down following graduation at the end of the academic year and authorize the removal of the base of "Silent Sam." 

The pedestal was removed unexpectedly just hours later, with the last of the base removed by 2:40 a.m.

Related story: 'Silent Sam' Base Removed Overnight

The move angered the Board of Governors, whose chairman said that the board had until mid-March to come up with a plan.

It was announced less than a day later that Folt would be resigning at the end of January, despite plans to stay on through the rest of the semester.

Check back for updates to this story.

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