The University of North Carolina board of governors accepted outgoing Chancellor Carol Folt's resignation Tuesday, but opted for a two-week notice rather than allowing her to stay through graduation as she had planned.
The board's chairman wasn't shy about explaining that Folt's exit was hastened due to her decision to order the remnants of a Confederate monument removed in the overnight hours following her announcement Monday.
What are the details?
After meeting for less than an hour, the board of governors declared Folt's last day on the Chapel Hill campus would be Jan. 31, according to The Wall Street Journal. The decision came soon after the chancellor surprised the entire Tar Heel community by simultaneously announcing her resignation along with her intent to remove the pedestal and tablets where the controversial statue of Silent Sam stood before protesters tore it down in August.
A crew carried out Folt's request at around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Board chairman Harry Smith explained, "When you start scheduling cranes at night and key and critical stakeholders aren't involved, it's unfortunate. The fact that we may not like governance or process, doesn't give us the right to usurp it."
Under a 2015 North Carolina law, no monument can be removed without permission from the North Carolina Historical Commission unless it poses a safety threat — which is precisely the reasoning Folt gave in explaining her decision to haul away what was left of the shrine commemorating UNC students who left school to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
The board of governors said it intends to have the statue returned to campus by March 15 in accordance with previous plans.
Students who had campaigned for Silent Sam's removal did a victory lap Monday night, holding an impromptu news conference next to the monument's base prior to its removal.
"This victory comes not because of what we've done this year, but because of the decades of black student and black faculty and black worker-led struggle at UNC," activist Gina Balamucki told reporters.
"No one, no one, no one can expect it to stay up if it's put up by a new chancellor, it's just not going to happen," she continued.
UNC student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, noted that "some activists, particularly activists of color, were not at the press conference," which student activist Kristen Lavery acknowledged, asserting, "I would say one of the primary impacts on why a lot of people of color were not here tonight, is a lot of them were targeted (by) the police and are trespassed from here."
She added, "I don't want to speak too much for anybody, but I will say I noticed (the lack of activists of color), but I also think it's important that we include in our speeches that this has been a decades-long thing primarily led by black women, black people who are queer and just black people in general."