Tensions heightened at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Sunday after a memorial dedicated to slaves and African American workers was found defaced with urine and racist slurs.
According to the university, two individuals, one of which was linked to a group called Heirs to the Confederacy, defaced the Unsung Founders Memorial early Sunday morning. An art installation outside of the Hanes Art Center was also found vandalized with racist language.
The memorial, made of black granite and bronze and located in McCorkle place on the UNC campus, was erected in 2005.
The latest incident follows controversy over the Silent Sam Confederate statue controversy, which was toppled in August 2018 by protestors who said it signified white supremacy. Plans to relocate the toppled statue to a new campus building were later halted by the Board of Governors.
“These events challenge not only our most fundamental community values, but also the safety of our campus,” Kevin M. Guskiewicz, interim chancellor, said in a statement to the UNC community. “Lawless behavior will not be tolerated, and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions.”
On Monday, campus police obtained arrest warrants for two people who were identified on a surveillance tape, allowing them to move ahead with their investigation, the Washington Post reported.
Last year, University of North Carolina chancellor, Carol L. Folt made national headlines for tendering an apology over the university’s participation in the practice of slavery. While acknowledging the indigenous people whose descendants contributed to the growth of the university, Folt had announced that the Unsung Founders Memorial would be repaired and renovated.