MJ-school faculty organize 'How We Talk About Silent Sam' panel for March 6

A UNC School of Media and Journalism faculty-led public event will explore the role of journalists and public relations professionals in communicating about the Silent Sam monument formerly located on the UNC-Chapel Hill’s McCorkle Place campus quad.

In a special session of the MJ-school’s “MEJO 101: The Media Revolution from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg and Beyond” course, faculty and graduate student moderators will engage with a panel including student journalists and a University communications leader.

“How We Talk About Silent Sam: The Roles of Journalism and Public Relations in Framing Conversations about a Confederate Monument” will be held Wednesday, March 6, from 4:30-6 p.m. in 111 Carroll Hall.

The event is free and open to the public, space permitting. People who plan to attend but are not enrolled in MEJO 101 should please use the link below to register for the event.


The Confederate monument known as Silent Sam has been in the news in North Carolina for nearly a century, particularly in the past few years. Journalists and public relations practitioners help shape how the public has viewed the monument’s longtime presence and recent removal from Carolina’s campus.

This discussion asks: What are the roles and responsibilities of professional communicators in reflecting and leading the debate over Silent Sam?

“We are looking forward to a constructive dialogue that explores ethical dimensions of how we talk about Silent Sam,” said Andy Bechtel, an associate professor at the MJ-school who helped organize the event.

The Board of Governors have set a March 15 deadline to have a revised plan for the disposition of the Confederate Monument. This panel comes a week ahead of that deadline.