The Daily Tar Heel‘s parent company is suing the Board of Governors over a lack of transparency in the decision to give the Sons of Confederate Veterans nearly $2.6 million to enshrine Silent Sam and agree to cease future protests on campus.
DTH Media Corp, the nonprofit behind UNC-Chapel Hill’s Daily Tar Heel, filed the lawsuit Tuesday against the UNC System Board of Governors, the UNC System, and five members of the BOG that published an op-ed in the News & Observer defending the group’s Silent Sam decision. Wendy Murphy, one of the defendants, is the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors.
The lawsuit claims that the defendants violated North Carolina’s Open Meetings Law and the North Carolina Uniform Declaratory Judgements Act, and asks them to nullify the agreements made with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“Both agreements with the SCV were conceived, negotiated, approved, and executed in total secrecy in violation of the Open Meetings Law,” the lawsuit states. “Owing to the defendants’ multiple violations of the Open Meetings Law, neither the plaintiff or the public knew or could have known about either transaction until the afternoon of November 27, 2019.”
In case you don’t follow the dumpster fire that has been UNC’s Silent Sam settlement, it goes something like this: the university system gave neo-Confederates its dusty Confederate monument, plus $2.5 million to “protect” it. They also gave the group $74,999—because Attorney General Josh Stein’s office has to approve settlements at $75K—to keep the group from displaying Confederate symbols on campus for five years. (Worth noting that ACTBAC, not SCV, is the group that has consistently shown up at UNC with Confederate flags).
“The Daily Tar Heel as an institution is always pro-transparency in our government,” says Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, Daily Tar Heel’s new Co-Editor-in-Chief. “In this case, the state did not follow its own laws according to open meetings. And it’s important for us as a journalistic institute to hold them accountable. If the people of North Carolina have no idea what their government is doing, then nobody is benefitting from it.”
It’s possible for the Daily Tar Heel to sue the entity that controls UNC-CH because it has been independent of the university since 1993, and operates solely off of donations and advertising revenue. You can donate to them here.
Contact digital content manager Sara Pequeño at firstname.lastname@example.org. Disclosure: the writer was a former staff member of The Daily Tar Heel.
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