Judge tosses Silent Sam settlement

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge has thrown out a settlement by the University of North Carolina’s governing board that gave a Confederate heritage group a toppled rebel statue, along with money to preserve it.

Judge Allen Baddour — who originally signed off on the settlement — ruled Wednesday that the Sons of Confederate Veterans didn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit that led to the hastily arranged deal that gave them possession of the statue known as Silent Sam, along with $2.5 million to maintain it. He vacated the deal and dismissed the group’s underlying lawsuit.

Critics had questioned how the deal was quietly struck with the UNC Board of Governors and approved just before Thanksgiving.

Five UNC students and a faculty member intervened to try to stop the settlement.

Silent Sam was a fixture on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus for more than a century.