North Carolina Graduate Student Faces Charges After Protesting University's Plan To Return Confederate Statue To Campus

Silent Sam was torn from its pedestal on campus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill back in August, but now the school wants to bring it back.
Breanna Edwards Dec, 10, 2018

Back in August, the Confederate statue “Silent Sam” was torn from its pedestal where it sat at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by protesters who denounced its racist origin and history.

Since then, the University had been deciding what to do with the statue, and last week decided that they would build a new $5.3 million center of history and education to house the fallen monument, according to NPR.

University Chancellor Carol Folt developed the plan and tweeted that the center was to tell of university’s “long and complicated” history.

However, perhaps predictably, a lot of people were not that impressed. One of those people is 26-year-old graduate student Maya Little, who led a protest against the plan, and ended up being arrested and charged with inciting a riot and assaulting a police officer, according to the News & Observer

“I was charged with assault on an officer, a charge that has been commonly used by UNC police when they can’t find anything else to charge activists with, and inciting a riot, both misdemeanors,” Little wrote in an email to the News & Observer. “The only danger and violence present last night was once again caused by university police who came equipped to a student protest with riot gear and tear gas canisters.”

The grad student turned herself in last week at the Orange County Courthouse, as she was not arrested at the protest. Little wrote in her email that she had not been charged until the day after the protest.

Only one other person, another graduate student Mark Porlides, 31, was arrested in connection the protest. Porlides is facing charges of assault on a police officer and resist, delay or obstruct arrest.

That being said, the protest which was organized last Monday night was mostly peaceful, with only a few scuffles between campus police and protesters. Little was among those who addressed the crowd of protesters before they started chanting and marching against the possible reinstatement of the statue on campus grounds.

This is not Little’s first time fighting to have Silent Sam truly silenced. Back in April she was arrested by campus police after she poured red ink on the statue. She was charged with vandalism and also faced charges in the university’s honor court. Back in October, a judge found her guilty of a misdemeanor but declined to implement any punishment. Around the same time a UNC honor court also found her responsible in the case and issued a letter of warning and gave her 18 hours of community service.