A memorial at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that is dedicated to African-American workers and slaves, was recently vandalized with urine and racist language written in permanent marker, university officials said.
Unsung Founders Memorial was defaced on Sunday, March 31 at around 1:30 a.m. by two individuals, one of whom has ties to a group called Heirs to the Confederacy, the university said.
The memorial was erected on the campus in 2005 to recognize “those men and women of color — enslaved and free — who helped build the Carolina we all know and love,” the university said.
“These events challenge not only our most fundamental community values, but also the safety of our campus,” said interim chancellor Dr. Kevin M. Guskiewicz.
The vandalism follows the recent toppling of the Confederate statue “Silent Sam” that created protests and national attention to the campus.
Heirs to the Confederacy has held events in support of Silent Sam in the past, according to The New York Times.
The group’s chairman, Lance Spivey, said he is looking into the allegations about the vandalism. Spivey also noted that at least two members of the group were on the campus Saturday night, but did not state anything that would suggest that the members defaced the memorial.
Spivey said he believed the members cooperated with police, and if the allegations were proven to be true, the organization would take “whatever punitive measures it deems necessary.”
University police decline to provide names of the individuals allegedly linked to the crime or what was written on the memorial, but said an investigation is taking place.
The memorial has been cleaned by the university and now has barricades around it to “deter future incidents,” police said.