The Niner Nation Remembrance Commission was created by Chancellor Philip L. Dubois in response to the tragic shooting of April 30, 2019, in which two students, Ellis Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, lost their lives, and four students, Rami Alramadhan, Sean DeHart, Emily Houpt, and Drew Pescaro, were injured. The Commission was charged with thoughtfully and compassionately leading a comprehensive process to determine how to best memorialize the victims and remember the tragedy that occurred on April 30, a day that will forever be part of UNC Charlotte’s history.
A sensitive and important issue discussed by the Commission was the future utilization of Kennedy 236, the site of the shooting. Members were aware that it will not be possible to raze and replace the Kennedy Building itself.
Chancellor Dubois sought to appoint a Commission composed of individuals from within the UNC Charlotte community and the greater Charlotte area who, as a group, would offer diversity of thought as well as relevant professional expertise and personal experience. The following individuals were selected and have volunteered to serve on the Commission:
Emily Zimmern, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Levine Museum of the New South, will serve as chair of the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission.
Kim Bradley, UNC Charlotte Chief of Staff to Chancellor Philip L. Dubois.
Lawrence Calhoun, Professor Emeritus of Psychological Science at UNC Charlotte, an internationally recognized expert on posttraumatic growth.
Chandler Crean, 2019-2020 President of the Student Government Association at UNC Charlotte.
Jason Dominiczak, UNC Charlotte staff member, who was one of the first responders at the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech as the captain of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad.
Carla Hanzal, Vice President of Public Art for the Charlotte Arts & Science Council and former Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Mint Museum of Charlotte.
Katie Howell, UNC Charlotte University Archivist, who is responsible for collecting, preserving, and sharing the historical records of the University.
Niayai Lavien, immediate past President (2018-2019) of the Student Government Association and a ’19 alumna.
Emily Makas, Associate Professor of Architectural and Urban History at UNC Charlotte and interim Associate Director of the School of Architecture, a nationally recognized scholar of memorial architecture.
Michael Marsicano, President and Chief Executive Officer of Foundation For The Carolinas and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Arts & Science Council.
Tim McCleary, Founder and Managing Director of The Involvement Practice, who moved to Charlotte from Newtown, Connecticut, the site of the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Tonderai Mushipe, second-year doctoral student in the Geography and Earth Science program and the current President of UNC Charlotte's Graduate & Professional Student Government.
Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones, Professor of Software and Information Systems and Associate Dean of the UNC Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics, who was a faculty member at Virginia Tech during the time of the 2007 shootings.
David Reed, uncle of Reed Parlier, who is a 1983 graduate of the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte and a certified public accountant with Bank of America.
The Niner Nation Remembrance Commission will held its initial organizational meeting on May 29, 2019. The summer months were used to complete research requested by the Commission, such as how other institutions have chosen to remember and memorialize tragic events. The Commission’s regular meeting schedule commenced at the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester and its recommendations were submitted and approved by Chancellor Dubois at the end of 2019. All meetings were conducted in accordance with the North Carolina Open Meetings Law.
To complete its charge, the Commission’s scope of work included, but was not limited to, the following:
- Soliciting input from and engaging with the Parlier and Howell families and the injured students and their families.
- Identifying multiple opportunities to allow students, faculty, staff, alumni, and interested individuals and organizations to submit feedback regarding a memorial(s), including but not limited to, online submission forms, survey instruments, public meetings or hearings, and meetings with specific individuals or groups.
- Consulting with other institutions or communities that have experienced similar tragedies and that publicly memorialized those tragedies.
- Visiting the sites of memorials erected for similar tragedies.
- Should the Commission’s deliberations suggest the appropriateness of public art, an historical museum exhibit, or erection of some kind of physical structure, the Commission may wish to consult as appropriate with relevant professionals, including artists, museum curators, architects, etc.