UNC students organize boycott to protest Confederate statue
A statue of "Silent Sam" on the University of North Carolina campus.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students are planning to boycott on-campus businesses in an effort to get the school to remove the controversial “Silent Sam” Confederate statue.
According to The News & Observer, a group of student activists is encouraging classmates to boycott several businesses on campus, including a Starbucks, a Wendy’s, Student Stores, a snack stand, a bagel shop, and even the main dining hall.
"We’re trying to show that we are taking action; that we can make an impact."
Organizers affiliated with the “Campus Y” student social justice organization said the boycott began this week and is slated to continue for one month, ending on October 18.
Acknowledging that many students rely on pre-paid meal plans, the boycott leaders say they intend to offer low-cost alternative food options and direct students to local restaurants that are offering discounts to boycotters.
On Tuesday, for instance, students were able to purchase $3 pupusas, a Salvadoran tortilla-based dish. Proceeds went to the UNC Center for Civil Rights, which was recently stripped of its ability to engage in litigation amid concerns that it was promoting the “personal causes” of employees.
Alexander Peeple, a co-president of the student social justice organization Campus Y, told the News & Observer that he hopes university administrators “will begin to maybe pay attention and listen if we use our economic voices and if we show that this isn’t a flash in the pan.
“It’s continued action,” he added, vowing that the protesters are “not going to allow them to ignore what’s happening.”
Courtney Staton, the other co-president of Campus Y, also underscored that the boycott is intended to show the university that demands to remove the statue are not “just words.”
“The university thinks we’re just words at this point,” she told the publication. “We’re trying to show that we are taking action; that we can make an impact.”
Alongside the boycott, the students also reportedly threatened to take legal action against the school if Silent Sam is not taken down.
The university, however, maintains that doing so would violate a state law that specifically protects monuments from being moved and that the exception to the statute only applies to monuments that pose a physical danger to visitors.
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