On November 27, just as the courthouses were closing and newsrooms were going to a skeleton crew, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina — lately stuffed with GOP operatives and seemingly bent on destroying the university — announced that it would settle a lawsuit with the Sons of Confederate Veterans — a white nationalist organization devoted to installing the "traitors' flag" of the Confederacy across the south — for $2.5m, diverting millions from educational purposes to building a Klan museum.
But the story is much weirder than that. The lawsuit that the Board of Governors settled just before the lawsuit was actually filed. The Board met via closed teleconference, having scheduled the meeting days in advance, and approved the settlement an hour before they were served with notice of the filing of the suit.
It gets worse. The issue over the lawsuit was that demonstrators had toppled a Confederate monument, "Silent Sam," in August 2018. But the Sons of Confederate Veterans don't own the Silent Sam statue, so it's difficult to understand how they'd even have standing to sue the university.
The university agreed to to give the white nationalists custody of the statue — a participation medal for the traitors who lost the battle to own their neighbors — and to pay them $2.5m of "non-state funds" (donor money, royalty money from university patents, etc) to use to build and maintain a permanent home for the statue, on the condition that it not be located near campus.
The Board of Governors was appointed by the state General Assembly, whose GOP majority have received $21,500 from NC Heritage, a PAC representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Most of this was sleuthed out by litigator T. Greg Doucette, and fair elections advocate Aylett Colston. Doucette also notes that UNC's general counsel is Tom Shanahan, who was also implicated in a coverup of serious misconduct by East Carolina University chancellor Dan Gerlach that ended with Gerlach resigning in disgrace.
(Thanks, Allen Varney!)
(I am a Visiting Professor of Practice at UNC's School of Library and Information Science)