UNC Charlotte Students To Chain Themselves to the Belk Tower

Students and alumni of UNC Charlotte say they'll do whatever it takes to save a piece of campus history. They say they're willing to chain themselves to the "Belk Tower" to keep it from being torn down.

The fence around the monument went up around lunchtime on Monday. It’s the first step in the process to demolish the oldest monument on campus.

It used to be the center of campus.

"This is where protests occur, this is where vigils are held," said UNCC Senior Darijo Blazevic.

"Usually you'll see people sitting out around it. It's a popular place for the preacher to come out and preach from," said UNCC Senior Marianne Shive.

Now the area is danger zone.

Chancellor Philip Dubois recently told faculty, staff, students and alumni in an email that "the tower has significant structural issues. (...) It does pose a potential safety hazard and it is prudent to take precautions."

The Belk Tower is set to be torn down during winter break, but there are students and alumni who say it's the one thing that unites them.

"This tower has been here for decades. It's unique to this campus. It's what differentiates UNC Charlotte from other campuses across North Carolina," said Blazevic.

"Everybody can associate with it and say that was there when I went to UNC Charlotte," said Shive.

The chancellor said in his message that it would cost close to a million dollars to fix the tower, a price some students and alumni say they're willing to pay and more.

"Some people say they're going to chain themselves to the tower and we're prepared to take those steps if need be. We just hope that the chancellor responds to our requests to sit down and see what we can do to save the actual tower," Blazevic.

The university confirms there have been no discussions with students, staff, or alumni on how to save the tower. It has not confirmed how much it plans on spending to tear down the monument.

In the message to students, alumni, faculty, and staff, the chancellor did ask for input on what they'd like to see replace the tower. He also asked if people would be willing to buy pieces of the tower after demolition.