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The Latest: Coach OK with players signing anti-statue letter

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, file photo, police stand guard after the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. The board overseeing North Carolina’s public universities is meeting to decide the fate of "Silent Sam." The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors was meeting Friday, Dec. 14, to discuss a proposal to build a $5 million building to house the statue at UNC-Chapel Hill. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a meeting by a North Carolina statewide university board to consider the fate of a toppled Confederate statue (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

University of North Carolina’s basketball coach says he’s OK with several of his players signing a letter opposing the return of a Confederate statue to campus.

Roy Williams spoke to reporters Friday, shortly before the statewide university system voted to take more time to study the issue of what to do with the statue known as Silent Sam that was torn down by protesters in August.

Williams acknowledged that several of his current players signed a letter by UNC athletes that opposes returning the statue to the Chapel Hill campus. He told reporters: “I talked to our guys about it, told them if they feel strongly about it, go right ahead.”

Williams is himself a UNC graduate. He added: “My own personal opinion is I wish we didn’t have a situation where we’re putting it back on campus.”

He said it’s “a very divisive issue. I wish it would go away.”

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2:55 p.m.

The board that oversees North Carolina’s public university system will take more time to study what to do with a toppled confederate monument known as “Silent Sam.”

Board of Governors chairman Harry Smith said Friday that the board couldn’t approve a proposal to build a $5 million structure to house the statue on campus.

Instead, the Board passed a resolution to have several of its members work with the flagship campus on a new plan. That revised plan is due in March.

Smith cited safety and costs as concerns with the plan proposed earlier this month by the Chapel Hill campus trustees to build the new $5 million history center on the outskirts of campus.

The statue was torn down during a demonstration earlier this year.

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12:15 p.m.

The board that oversees North Carolina’s statewide university system has gone into closed session as it considers what to do with a statue toppled by protesters.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors made it through most of its public agenda of unrelated items before closing to the public at the meeting Friday.

Outgoing university system president Margaret Spellings said at the beginning of the meeting that dealing with the statue known as “Silent Sam” was a serious issue and that campus safety was a foremost concern. Little indication was given of what they were discussing behind closed doors, but university leaders were scheduled to address the news media afterward.

The statewide board is considering a proposal by leaders of the flagship Chapel Hill campus to build a $5 million structure to house the “Silent Sam” statue.

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9 a.m.

The board overseeing North Carolina’s public universities is meeting to decide the fate of a Confederate statue toppled by protesters at the state’s flagship campus.

The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors was meeting Friday to discuss a proposal to build a $5 million building to house the “Silent Sam” statue at UNC-Chapel Hill. It was torn down during a demonstration earlier this year.

The board started the day with unrelated committee meetings and was expected to discuss a plan for the statue later in the morning. The proposal for a new building came earlier this month from trustees at the Chapel Hill campus.

Several dozen protesters gathered outside of Friday’s meeting, watched by a heavy police presence. Some protesters held signs with messages including “No Racist Statues.”

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