CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are preparing for a possible rally on campus Tuesday near the controversial "Silent Sam" statue, WTVD reports.
The Confederate memorial known as "Silent Sam" faces Franklin Street, just a short walk away from the road.
Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, crews put barricades around the statue as a precaution.
— John Clark ABC11 (@JohnClarkABC11) August 22, 2017
UNC's chancellor, vice chancellor and chief of police released a letter Monday evening alerting the community of the possible rally.
It says the rally is "promoted by groups not affiliated with Carolina."
The letter recommends students avoid the rally and says if campus authorities had the ability to immediately move the statue for safety reasons, they would.
— UNC-Chapel Hill (@UNC) August 21, 2017
The letter says, in part, "Our concern is always for your safety and so considering the potential for a highly charged atmosphere and the very real possibility for confrontation with outside groups, we would encourage you not to attend the rally on Tuesday. However, if you do choose to attend, we ask you to stay alert and vigilant. Campus police will be present to help address safety concerns. If you are not attending this event, please avoid McCorkle Place and the area around the Confederate Monument."
Governor Roy Cooper told UNC officials on Monday that they have the authority to take immediate action if they feel the statue is posing a risk to public safety.
Chapel Hill's mayor wants the statue relocated from the campus location to a building somewhere in town where it can be used as a teaching aid.
Campus police will be at the rally to help address safety concerns.
— Anthony Wilson (@AnthonyABC11) August 22, 2017
— Emmy Victor (@EmmyReports) August 22, 2017