Joe Killian at NC Policy Watch is all over this:
“I’m going to do everything I can to fight it,” Doucette said in an interview with Policy Watch Wednesday. As a student, Doucette served as president of the UNC System Association of Student Governments, which made him a non-voting member of the UNC Board of Governors in 2008. He said he’s disgusted with the way the board has handled the Silent Sam issue. Last week’s settlement led him to get actively involved.
Doucette said he’s been talking with fellow attorneys and interested parties since the settlement was announced. He’s identified a number of irregularities in everything from how the issue was handled at the Board of Governors level to the finer legal points of the settlement itself. “If I can find people willing to get involved in filing a lawsuit, I’m going to do it,” Doucette said.
I've been following Greg's progress as he's dug into this issue, starting with the leaked e-mail where Kevin Stone was bragging to his fellow SCV members about his "backroom" deal with the UNC BOG. At the heart of the (legal) matter is the fact that the SCV lawsuit would not have passed muster if UNC had actually opposed it:
“Dismaying.” That was the word that came to Eric Muller’s mind as he read the settlement last week. As Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the UNC-Chapel Hill, Muller was doubly troubled.
“The settlement agreement is just shockingly off-base in the basic legal foundation,” Muller said. “The basic legal theory that it rests on is fanciful.”
The basic thrust of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ legal argument: When the statue was erected in 1913, a leader of the United Daughters of the Confederacy – which had helped in the campaign to fund and erect the monument – said that the monument would stand “forever.”
When protesters tore the statue down and former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt ordered its base removed from campus, the group asserts, it ceased to stand “forever.” Therefore ownership reverted to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The group has transferred its rights to the Sons of the Confederacy, therefore giving them standing to sue for ownership.
“The fact that someone said that one word – ‘forever’ – is simply not a valid legal argument,” Muller said. “If this was a real lawsuit, if this wasn’t a made-up lawsuit to accomplish a goal, UNC would win in an instant. That’s if it was even heard, if the group was found to have any standing at all.”
To settle a lawsuit that had no chance of succeeding, especially considering the SCV was only hoping for (at best) $300,000, and they ended up with almost ten times that much, proves the UNC BOG is either a) Monumentally incompetent, or b) Intentionally supporting a racist organization. Or both.
This travesty is demanding to be corrected.