Chancellor's Statements

UNC Charlotte receives external review of April 30, 2019, campus shootings

   June 29, 2020 - 12:55 PM

Dear Niner Nation, 

In July of last year, I announced the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and the National Police Foundation (NPF) were retained to conduct an external review of the tragic shootings that took place on our campus on April 30, 2019. Though COVID-19 delayed the review process, their final report was submitted to me on June 15, 2020. 

I have spent the past several days reviewing this report, along with members of my Cabinet and other safety, health services, and communication leaders on campus. I have also shared a copy of the report with Chancellor-elect Sharon Gaber and discussed the recommended next steps to ensure a seamless transition. 

While the entirety of the report is a confidential document because of safety and security planning and preparedness, I want to provide a summary of their findings and a news release we will soon share with the community. 

As you will see, IACLEA and NPF focused their review in four primary areas: leadership, relationships, and preparedness; crisis communication; threat assessment; and mental health, resilience, and recovery.

Their report is thorough, and I thank them for their work. The findings recognize the strengths of our community’s response, while also recommending areas where we can enhance our readiness for emergencies. None of the findings indicate there is anything the University could have done to have identified the shooter as a threat prior to the evening of April 30 or prevented the tragedy that occurred. I want to make clear that knowing this fact does not lessen the pain of losing Reed and Riley, nor erase the collective fear and grief our community experienced.  

Working closely with Chancellor-elect Gaber, I have outlined my recommendations for the next steps the University needs to take in response to this report. They include: 

  • Reviewing and revising our Emergency Operations and crisis communication plans as appropriate; 

  • Additional research for further strengthening the University’s ability to identify, assess, and manage campus behavioral and threat-related concerns;  

  • The development of an ongoing campus resilience plan with particular attention to supporting the campus community’s mental health needs; and

  • A review of training programs for employees and students, including active shooter response. 

There is still work ahead to fully address the recommendations of this report, and I ask that you give Chancellor-elect Gaber the same support you have given me in these efforts. 

Over the past 14 months, you have shown in countless ways the characteristics that have made Niner Nation so special to Lisa and me for the past 15 years: compassion for each other, courage to face challenges, and determination that UNC Charlotte will not be defined by what happened on our campus on April 30. We will be defined and remembered for our response. 

Even during the hardest days we have experienced, it has been my honor to serve as your chancellor. Niner Nation’s future is strong because of you. 

Sincerely, 

Phil

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor 



Update: April 30 Remembrance Plans

   March 17, 2020 - 9:40 AM

Dear UNC Charlotte community,

As you know, the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is rapidly evolving, and we are prioritizing decisions to help protect the health and safety of our 49er community. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued guidance that recommends eliminating large public gatherings of more than 50 people and on Monday, the White House suggested that an even lower threshold is desirable.

This guidance unfortunately affects our scheduled Day of Remembrance plans on April 30, observing the one-year anniversary of that tragic day in our campus history. We are committed to finding meaningful ways to honor the lives lost and all those affected. However, we will need to do so in a way that supports social distancing practices and protects the health of all those involved. Therefore, we made the difficult decision to cancel “United: A Remembrance Concert” at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center on April 30 at 7:30 p.m. The event will not be rescheduled. I have shared this decision with the Howell and Parlier families, and they are fully understanding of it.  

Many students, faculty and alumni have been involved in creating this performance, which was designed to unite the Charlotte community and pay tribute to Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, the four injured students, and all the community members that supported UNC Charlotte on that day and in the weeks that followed. We are currently determining whether it is possible to create an on-campus remembrance event that respects social distancing protocols, such as a streaming remembrance ceremony.  More information will be shared soon. 

All proceeds from the concert were planned for the Remembrance Fund, which will be used to support the work of the Remembrance Commission. If you do not wish for your ticket purchase to be contributed to the Remembrance Fund as a tax-deductible donation, please contact Blumenthal Performing Arts at 704-372-1000 or tickets@blumenthalarts.org by Tuesday, March 31 to receive a full refund.

I know it is disappointing that this Day of Remembrance will be significantly different from our original plan, but I am comforted by the fact that we continue to make decisions that support the health and well-being of our entire community. The enduring spirit of Niner Nation is one of resilience, and we will get through this extraordinary time, together. We truly appreciate your understanding and patience.

We look forward to sharing alternative plans for April 30 and will follow up with more information as soon as it is available.

Sincerely,

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor



Results of Recovery Pulse Survey

   February 18, 2020 - 12:00 PM

Dear UNC Charlotte Community, 

In November, we asked you to complete a short survey to help us understand the effectiveness of our communications and related efforts surrounding our recovery from April 30. 

The survey was sent to all faculty, staff, students, and families. Thousands of you took time to respond, and we are grateful for your feedback. We have received the analysis of the data from the third-party firm which administered the survey, and I wanted to share with you some highlights of what we learned and what we are doing. 

  • Pride and Strength: I am pleased to report that the overwhelming majority of us are proud to be members of Niner Nation and believe the future of this University is strong. As I have said before, the strength and resilience of this community has made me prouder than ever before to be your chancellor. The heart of Niner Nation is strong, and the future is bright. 

  • Caring Community: You also believe our campus is one that cares about its members. I have always known this to be true about UNC Charlotte, but we have seen each other's compassion and humanity amplified in new ways over the past year.  

  • Safety Changes: Some of you indicated you weren’t necessarily aware of all the additional actions the University has taken related to safety and security since April 30. To help in that effort, a new page has been established on Emergency Management’s website to centralize this information. The page will continue to be updated with safety news as we move forward. We will also assess new ways we can both solicit your input on safety initiatives and enhance our communication with you about these efforts. 

  • Remembrance Efforts: While most said you know what the University is doing to honor Reed, Riley, and the April 30 survivors, we also saw opportunities for improvement in this area. I hope the recent communications we shared about the Remembrance Commission’s recommendations have been beneficial in this regard, but we are also reassessing our communication plans to ensure we are being mindful of sharing this information widely as we move forward with the Commission's recommendations

A summary of the survey’s key findings is also available for your review:

Perceptions of the April 30 Recovery

Our communications team is working with Safety and Security, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, Human Resources, and other campus partners  to develop additional strategies that will allow us to use the survey results to communicate more effectively and better support our community. The results from our external review, when completed,  will also aid in this effort. 

Thank you again for your support of our survey efforts and your ongoing commitment to Niner Nation. We will continue to keep you updated.

Cordially, 

 

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor



Niner Nation Remembrance Commission final recommendations

   January 30, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Dear UNC Charlotte Community:

On January 7, 2020, I shared the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission's report with you and invited feedback on the Commission's recommendations. I want to once again express my most sincere gratitude to the Commission for undertaking the important task of developing recommendations in three areas: how to memorialize Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, how best to remember the tragedy that occurred on April 30, and to determine the future utilization of Kennedy 236, the classroom where the shootings took place, as well as the adjacent classroom. The Commission led a robust process to engage those most impacted by the tragic events of April 30, as well as to gather feedback from all of Niner Nation. I thank all of you who engaged in the process, whether it was completing the online survey, attending a listening session, or submitting feedback via email. The collective feedback from Niner Nation informed the Commission's work, allowing them to come to thoughtful and meaningful recommendations.

After careful consideration, I have accepted the Commission's recommendations regarding a memorial to honor Reed and Riley, how the campus will remember April 30, and the future use of the two classrooms in the Kennedy Building.

Recommendation for a permanent memorial

The Commission recommended the creation of a significant, focal memorial and commemorative space in Belk Plaza, between the front of Kennedy and the recently completed ellipse and fountain. The concept and objectives for the memorial will be to:

  • Remember Reed Parlier and Riley Howell by name.
  • Acknowledge those wounded, both physically and psychologically.
  • Evoke the unity, strength, and resilience of the UNC Charlotte community.
  • Create a commemorative space that is interactive and/or occupiable.
  • Combine landscape, architecture, and art to provide a place of pause in the center of campus.
  • Be appropriate to scale of the site and existing landscaping, hardscaping, and architecture of the surrounding campus and integrate the memorial into Belk Plaza.

I have accepted the main tenets of the Commission's recommendations regarding a multi-stage selection process. To manage this process, I have appointed two groups that together will form one large committee. Brook Muller, Dean of Arts + Architecture, will serve as chair of the consolidated committee. The first of the two groups is the formal design jury, as recommended by the Commission. This will be a group of architectural and public art professionals which will formally make the recommendation to the Chancellor on the selection of an architectural and artistic team to develop the memorial and ultimately the choice of a final design.  The second of the two groups is an advisory group of faculty, staff, students, and alumni who will not vote in the selection process but will participate significantly in the discussions with the jury about the memorial proposals, providing their insights and perspectives. The members of the design jury and advisory group are as follows:

Memorial Jury

  • Brook Muller, Chair — Brook is the newly appointed Dean of the College of Arts + Architecture at UNC Charlotte. He most recently served as a Professor and Director of the Architecture Program at the University of Oregon.
  • John Boyer — As the first President and CEO of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, John oversaw its construction and led it through its first decade of operation. He is recently retired.
  • Harvey Gantt — Harvey Gantt has enjoyed a successful career as an architect and was honored in 2009 with the naming of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. He served as Charlotte’s mayor from 1983 to 1987. He was co-director of the architectural team that designed UNC Charlotte’s Center City building.
  • Carla Hanzal — Carla is the 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. She served as a member of the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission.
  • Jonell Logan — Jonell is the Executive Director of the League of Creative Interventionists, a non-profit organization that provides resources to artists and emerging community leaders in their neighborhoods. She founded 300 Arts Project LLC, an arts management and consulting firm. 
  • Emily Makas — Emily is Associate Professor of Architectural and Urban History at UNC Charlotte and Interim Associate Director of the School of Architecture. She is a nationally recognized scholar of memorial architecture. She served as a member of the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission.
  • Tahlya Mock — Tahlya Mock, from Charlotte, is a second-year student at UNC Charlotte majoring in architecture. 
  • Charles Thomas — Charles is the director of the Knight Foundation of Charlotte. A Duke University graduate, he is also a photographer and previously served as the director of education of The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film.
  • Emily Zimmern — Emily is the former President and CEO of the Levine Museum of the New South. She served as chair of the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission.

Memorial Advisory Group

  • Kim Bradley — Kim serves as Chief of Staff to UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois.
  • Frenchie Brown — Frenchie is Senior Vice President and Anti-Money Laundering Channel Engagement Manager at Bank of America. She is also a graduate of UNC Charlotte and currently serves on the UNC Charlotte Alumni Board.
  • Peter Franz — Peter works within the planning unit of UNC Charlotte’s Facilities Management team as the Campus Landscape Architect.
  • Rick Gundacker — Rick is a Lieutenant with the UNC Charlotte Police Department. A retired detective with the NYPD, he was the first officer to respond on April 30.
  • Kathryn Horne — Kathryn is UNC Charlotte’s Director of Planning, Design, and Construction. She is responsible for ensuring that campus space is utilized efficiently and effectively.
  • Janet Levy — Janet is Professor Emerita in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Anthropology and a former chair of that department. She retired in 2017 with 37 years of service.
  • Meg Morgan — Meg is Professor Emerita in UNC Charlotte’s Department of English and a former president of the Faculty Council. She retired in 2015 after 28 years which included serving as Director of Rhetoric and Writing from 1994-2003.
  • Tahlieah Sampson — Tahlieah is a current student from Raleigh and a member of the Student Government Association. She currently serves as the press secretary of the SGA.

Recommendations for Remembrance

The Commission recommends that April 30 be remembered by instituting a number of remembrance activities and events, including the mounting of a series of exhibits, the creation of a Day of Remembrance, support for named scholarships, conducting oral histories, continued efforts to collect and preserve archival documents, and support for other organic remembrance efforts. Its recommendations generally address the next three years.

Series of Exhibits

The Commission recommended a series of exhibits be mounted as remembrance of the events of April 30. To coincide with the first anniversary on April 30, 2020, a temporary exhibit highlighting memorial items and other documentation collected and preserved by University Archives will be held in Atkins Library and will remain on display until the larger exhibit is installed in 2021. For the second anniversary in 2021, a larger, curated temporary exhibit will be displayed in the galleries in the Popp-Martin Student Union.  The Commission also recommended a permanent online component that will be hosted on the Atkins Special Collections website. 

Day of Remembrance

The Commission noted that it is important to acknowledge and remember Reed Parlier, Riley Howell, and all those directly and indirectly affected by the events of April 30 and to celebrate Niner spirit and resilience. The Commission proposed continuing the practice of a day of remembrance for at least the next three years when students who were on campus on April 30, 2019 will still be enrolled. Thereafter, a process will be put in place to reevaluate what is most appropriate for the campus community in the following years. This day will be held on April 30 or a floating date (e.g. last Tuesday of April), and the specific events will be flexible to accommodate the changing needs of the campus community over time. 

Named Scholarships

The Commission supported the establishment of additional named scholarships in honor of Reed Parlier and Riley Howell. There are already named scholarships for both Reed and Riley.

Oral Histories and Archival Documentation

The Commission recommended conducting a series of oral history interviews to document this event through the eyes of our campus and community members. The Commission also recommended continued efforts to collect and preserve the records and memorabilia associated with April 30 and campus recovery efforts. These efforts have already been initiated by the University.

Other Remembrances

The Commission recommended that the University remain supportive of other future initiatives that may arise on campus or in the greater Charlotte community to honor Reed Parlier, Riley Howell, and others affected by this tragedy. 

Recommendations for the future use of Kennedy 236

The Commission recommended that Kennedy 236, as well as adjoining Kennedy 234, not be used as classrooms in the future; the space should be reconfigured and repurposed. The Commission further recommended that a contemplative space be created in the Kennedy building, and that it include a documentary plaque acknowledging the events of April 30, 2019.  

The University will manage the process for repurposing and reconfiguring Kennedy 236 and 234. The University will immediately begin work on designing the contemplative space and plaque. 

April 30, 2020 Day of Remembrance

As a reminder, we are planning on-campus and community events for the first anniversary that will unite the University and Charlotte community together to honor and remember the lives lost and all those impacted on that tragic day in our history. 

There are no classes scheduled on April 30, 2020.  The Division of Student Affairs is leading a planning process for on-campus activities that will allow faculty, staff, and students to come together and support each other. A student-led team plans to offer several options to our campus community to reflect and remember the lives affected on April 30. In addition, the University will host a Remembrance Concert for the campus and broader Charlotte community at 7:30 p.m. in the Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are limited and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost to attend is $25 for the public and $10 for UNC Charlotte students, plus taxes and facility fees. Tickets are now available on the Blumenthal website, and all proceeds will benefit the April 30 Remembrance Fund, which supports the recommendations outlined by the work of the Remembrance Commission.

As I have said before, April 30, 2019, will not define us. Instead, Niner Nation will be defined by the strength of our collective response. It is my great hope that the actions we’re taking to remember and honor the victims will serve as a meaningful and lasting reminder of the strength, compassion and enduring spirit within our UNC Charlotte community.

 Sincerely,

 

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor



Niner Nation Remembrance Commission final report

   January 7, 2020 - 3:45 PM

Dear UNC Charlotte community,

As we begin 2020 and the second half of the academic year, I wanted to share an update on April 30 remembrance efforts and what you can expect in the weeks ahead.

Remembrance Commission

After the tragedy on campus last April, I announced the formation of a Niner Nation Remembrance Commission to lead a comprehensive process to determine how to memorialize Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, how to best remember the tragedy that occurred on April 30, and to make a recommendation about the future utilization of Kennedy 236, the classroom where the shootings took place. 

Chaired by Emily Zimmern, former executive director and president of the Levine Museum of the New South, and composed of 13 other members from the UNC Charlotte community and the greater Charlotte area, the Commission embarked on a comprehensive, six-week engagement process, The Commission met with the Howell and Parlier families, the injured students, and the students who were in the classroom but who were not physically injured, as well as conducted four campus-wide listening sessions for students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members. The Commission also administered an online survey that garnered a remarkable response rate with more than 4,500 individuals participating and providing feedback. 

After receiving the poignant feedback from the families, impacted students, and broader campus community, the Commission worked diligently to formulate the thoughtful recommendations which they have submitted to me. You can read the full report here.  I invite you to provide any additional written feedback via email to remembrance@uncc.edu by Monday, January 20. I will review this feedback, finalize my decisions by the end of the month and update you on next steps. 

I want to express my sincere gratitude to all members of the Remembrance Commission for volunteering their time, and to those of you who have provided feedback in this process. 

April 30 Day of Remembrance

As we move toward the one-year anniversary of April 30, we are planning several events that will unite the University and Charlotte community together to honor and remember the lives lost and all those impacted on that tragic day in our history. 

There are no classes scheduled that day and we are planning for a number of on-campus activities that will allow faculty, staff and students to come together and support each other on this day of remembrance. Since each person’s healing process is very personal, a student-led team plans to offer several options to our campus community to reflect and remember the lives affected on April 30. In addition, the University will host a Remembrance Concert for the broader Charlotte community on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. in the Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts.

The intent of the Remembrance Concert is to honor Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, our four injured students, and all those affected by the events of that day. The concert will be hosted by CBS national correspondent Don Dahler, ’91, and will feature the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra led by Music Director Christopher Warren-Green. The concert will also include live musical, dance, theatre, and artistic performances from UNC Charlotte students, faculty, staff  and alumni, as well as an original composition written by one of our faculty members, John Allemeier

An email invitation will be sent next week with details on purchasing tickets to the concert, which promises to be a touching and thoughtful tribute. Tickets will be $25 for the public, $10 for students, and all proceeds will go toward the April 30 Remembrance Fund which will be used to support the work of the Remembrance Commission. We hope that you will be able to join us, but if you cannot, you can still donate to the April 30 Remembrance Fund.

Along with the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission, it is my great hope that we thoughtfully honor the victims and memorialize this tragedy in a way that supports our community’s healing process while also reaffirming the enduring spirit of Niner Nation. 

Sincerely,

Philip Dubois
Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor


Update on Recovery Efforts

   November 1, 2019 - 9:38 AM

Dear UNC Charlotte Community:

I want to update you on the progress we have made on many of the initiatives I shared with you in my July 25 community update as well as some new projects we are undertaking.

Remembrance Commission

Survey and listening sessions
Thank you to the thousands of community members who completed the remembrance survey and to those who attended the listening sessions both on main campus and at Center City. The Commission expects to make its recommendations to me in early December, so your input is instrumental in ensuring that we memorialize the victims and the events of April 30 in ways that are meaningful and lasting.

A Day of Remembrance on April 30
We have started planning a Day of Remembrance on April 30, 2020, to unite students, faculty, staff, and the Charlotte community together by thoughtfully remembering that tragic day in our history and continuing the recovery process.

We plan to host a Remembrance Concert for students, employees, and the community at the Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, at 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature the Charlotte Symphony as well as UNC Charlotte students and alumni participating in music, dance, spoken word, and multi-media performances. UNC Charlotte alumnus and CBS national correspondent Don Dahler '91 will serve as the master of ceremonies. Tickets will go on sale in early January 2020 and proceeds will benefit the April 30th Remembrance Fund.

In addition, students have started planning an on-campus event earlier that same day. More details will be shared about both events in early 2020.  

Safety & Security Steps

We’ve also taken additional steps to enhance our safety measures on campus and evaluate our response efforts.

External review
The independent external review of our response to April 30 is underway. The first round of interviews of key personnel took place the week of October 14. The reviewers will be back on campus during the week of January 13 to host listening sessions for the campus community. More information about these opportunities will be shared as we get closer to the date, and I hope you will participate.  As the external reviewers seek to assess our preparation for, response to, and recovery from the events of April 30, it is important that they understand your perspectives and benefit from your experience on that day.

Classroom lockdown kits
The Department of Safety and Security has assessed all non-locking classroom and laboratory doors on campus. By the end of the current semester, each non-locking space will be equipped with a kit to secure the door in the event of a lockdown. Doors that open inwardly will have a wedge that will slide underneath the door to prevent it from opening. Doors that open outwardly will have a piece of cut fire hose that will slip over the door closer to secure it. Please watch the new lockdown video for a demonstration on how to use these devices. Safety and Security is also assessing longer-term solutions for non-locking doors.

Safety videos
To ensure safety training is accessible to all members of our community, the Department of Safety and Security has created an instructional video for each of our three primary NinerAlert directives: lockdown, seek shelter, and evacuation. Visit the Emergency Management website to review this important information.

Classroom posters
Safety posters have been installed in all classrooms on campus and are being added to all laboratory spaces. The laboratory installations should be complete by the end of the fall semester. Each poster lists the room number for the space, emergency contact information, and how to execute the three primary action directives given in a NinerAlert: lockdown, seek shelter, and evacuation.

Center City security changes
Beginning December 2, 2019, new security procedures will be in place at Center City. All faculty, staff, and students will be required to wear their 49er ID cards while in the building. Visitors will be required to check in and receive a badge to wear. The changes were made following a security assessment of the building.  

Recovery Pulse Survey

As we move through our recovery efforts and approach the one-year anniversary of April 30, we want to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community. Next week, you will receive a survey to ask for your feedback on our recovery communication efforts to date.

I ask that you take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us. Your feedback is critical in helping us plan our next steps and will be greatly appreciated.

 
Sincerely,
Philip Dubois
Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor


Message from the Chancellor

   September 19, 2019 - 3:55 PM

Dear UNC Charlotte Community,

Today, the Mecklenberg County District Attorney’s office reached a plea agreement resulting in two life sentences for the individual responsible for the April 30 shooting on UNC Charlotte’s campus. While this news does not bring closure to the tragedy that occurred that day, it does bring a definite end to the criminal proceedings.  

We remain focused on honoring the victims and their families. This week, the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission held four sessions to solicit input from the community on ways to thoughtfully and compassionately remember and memorialize the lives that were lost. A survey will be sent on Monday to allow you to share additional feedback.

We also remain focused on caring for our campus community. Support services continue to be available to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program and to students through the Christine F. Price Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). I encourage you to reach out to our trained counselors if you need to talk with someone.  

We will never forget April 30, the lives of Reed and Riley, the injuries sustained by Rami, Sean, Emily, and Drew, and the impact of that day's incident on on our entire community.

I’m grateful for your compassion, strength and support of each other as we enter the next stage of our recovery efforts.

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor



Listening Sessions

   September 9, 2019 - 7:29 PM

Dear Niner Nation,

Last May, I appointed the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission in response to the tragic shooting on April 30th. The Commission was charged with thoughtfully and compassionately leading a comprehensive process to determine how to best memorialize the victims; how to best remember the tragedy that occurred on April 30th, a day that will forever be part of UNC Charlotte’s history; and, what should be the future utilization of Kennedy 236, the site of the shooting.

With the start of the new academic year, the Commission has begun its work and its first priority is listening to our campus community and hearing its suggestions and feedback on the proposed memorial, remembrance and future use of Kennedy 236. Beginning next week, the Commission will be hosting two listening sessions for students, faculty and staff, as well as two listening sessions for alumni and community members. Session details are as follows:

Listening Sessions for Students, Faculty and Staff

Monday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.
UNC Charlotte Main Campus
Harris Alumni Center
8688 Alumni Way
Charlotte, NC 28262

Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m.
UNC Charlotte Main Campus
Harris Alumni Center
8688 Alumni Way
Charlotte, NC 28262

Listening Sessions for Alumni and Community Members

Wednesday, Sept. 18 at noon
UNC Charlotte Center City Building
Lecture Hall Room 204, second floor

320 E. 9th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Thursday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m.
UNC Charlotte Center City Building
Lecture Hall Room 204, second floor
320 E. 9th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

The Commission will also be administering an online survey to give the campus community the opportunity to provide feedback on the memorial, remembrance and future use of Kennedy 236. Information about the survey will be forthcoming.

Sincerely,

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor



We Are All Niners

   July 25, 2019 - 12:28 PM

Dear UNC Charlotte Community,

With the start of the new academic year quickly approaching, I want to share with you some updates about the work we have been doing over the past several weeks and what you can expect in the coming semester. 

Safety

As I have said many times, there is nothing more important to us than ensuring the safety of our campus community. Our internal review of the April 30 tragedy and our response to it is complete, and I will receive the report within the next couple of weeks. Additionally, we will commission a thorough and completely independent external review that will include recommendations on any areas that the reviewers think could improve campus safety or emergency response.  We have retained the National Police Foundation (NPF) to lead this process. They will partner with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and a cross-functional team of experts in emergency management, communications, behavioral health, and academic and student affairs to conduct this assessment. I expect the team to begin their work in earnest in late August or early September. 

In the meantime, we have already taken some steps I want to bring to your attention: 

  • Community Active Assailant Response Training -- As the new academic year begins, the Department of Safety and Security will offer large-scale active assailant response training for the campus community. Please visit the Emergency Management website to learn more and register to participate. 
  • Enhanced Police Presence -- You will notice an enhanced police presence on campus as classes resume in the fall. This isn’t because we anticipate any increased threat to our safety. Instead, it is intended to reassure us all of the strength and accessibility of our police force. I encourage you to introduce yourself to the officers you see and share any concerns or questions.
  • Increased Security for Large Events -- Beginning this fall, you will see increased security at football games, commencement, and other large events. This includes the use of metal detectors, the enforcement of more restrictive bag policies, and the presence of additional police officers. More specific information will be shared with attendees prior to each event. 
  • Classroom Safety Information -- The University will install posters in each classroom listing the room number, emergency contact information, and how to execute the three primary action directives given in a NinerAlert: lockdown, shelter in place, and evacuation. You will see these posters installed throughout the fall semester. 
Support

Support services are available to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program and to students through the Christine F. Price Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). These services will continue throughout the fall. Everyone is moving at their own pace in recovery, and I encourage you to reach out to our trained counselors if you need to talk with someone. 

Additionally, CAPS, the Dean of Students Office, and the Department of Safety and Security have partnered to offer a workshop for faculty and staff on how they can best support students as they return for the fall semester. Topics covered in the workshop will include how to identify students in need of support; understanding available campus resources; facilitating difficult conversations about the shooting; and building a community of care in the classroom. You may register online to attend one of these sessions. 

Niner Nation Remembrance Commission

The Niner Nation Remembrance Commission will reconvene in August to chart its work and review research compiled over the summer to gain insight into how others who have experienced similar tragedies have chosen to honor their victims and to memorialize what had taken place in their institutions or communities.

We Are All Niners

Moving forward after a tragedy of this magnitude isn’t easy. When classes begin in August, two important members of the Niner Nation family will be missing. We will never forget Reed and Riley, the injuries sustained by Rami, Sean, Emily, and Drew, or the collective pain we experienced on April 30. 

The past few months have shown the world the depth and breadth of Niner Nation. The pride for this special place is evident. The importance of our University to the city and surrounding region has never been more apparent.

You will see the words “We Are All Niners” frequently in the weeks and months ahead, both on campus and off. It isn’t a slogan or a motto. It is a declaration. Together, our future is bright, bold, and strong. 

Philip Dubois

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor

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Message from the Chancellor

   May 30, 2019 - 11:13 AM

Dear UNC Charlotte Community:

We have shared a wide range of experiences and emotions on our campus over this past month: tragedy and grief, compassion and support, resiliency and recovery.

As we pause together to reflect on the one-month anniversary of the day that forever touched our University community, it is important to note that each of us has our own timeline for how we respond to and recover from the events of April 30. We react differently, and we require different kinds of support.

I encourage you to review information from Dr. David Spano, associate vice chancellor and director of the Christine F. Price Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

He explains how reactions to trauma are to be expected no matter where you were on April 30. As a member of Niner Nation, it is okay to be affected by this tragedy regardless of your physical location that day.  Dr. Spano also offers some suggestions for coping strategies as we move forward, which we are doing one step at a time.

The Niner Nation Remembrance Commission held its first meeting yesterday. The members reviewed the Commission’s charter and developed a plan for necessary research to be conducted this summer. They will reconvene in August, and you can expect another update on their work early this fall.

Today, however, I want to share with you one decision that has already been made. The space in Kennedy where the tragedy occurred will not be used for any purpose for the upcoming academic year (2019-2020). I will await the Commission’s recommendations for the future of the space before making any final decisions.

Over the next few weeks, CAPS, the Dean of Students Office, and Safety and Security will work together to create training opportunities for faculty and staff in advance of the start of the next academic year. We want to fully support our faculty and staff so that, in turn, they have the capacity to fully support our students. There will also be additional safety training offered this fall. More information will be shared as soon as it is available.

Additionally, we are making progress on our internal and external reviews. The internal after-action report is well underway, and we are currently considering which individuals, organizations, and firms might help us with the external assessment of our response on April 30.   

The days ahead will continue to present challenges, but I remain confident we will rise to meet them together.

Philip Dubois

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor

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Update: Drew Pescaro

   May 27, 2019 - 9:19 AM

Niner Nation,

I am happy to share that Drew Pescaro has been discharged from Duke University Hospital after being readmitted a few days ago for an infection. 

He is doing well, and we all look forward to welcoming him back to campus this fall.

Phil

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor



Update: Sean DeHart

   May 22, 2019 - 3:11 PM

Dear Niner Nation,

I was traveling in the Raleigh area today and had an opportunity to visit with Sean DeHart and his parents, John and Trish, in their home in Apex.

Chancellor Dubois and Sean DeHart

I enjoyed my time with them and was happy to see Sean doing so well.  He plans to return to Charlotte soon for his summer job, and we look forward to welcoming him back to campus in the fall for the start of his junior year.

Sean told me on April 30 he fled into Chick-fil-A in Prospector, where he was aided by a young woman who placed a tourniquet on him to help stop his bleeding. Sean said he believed she was a student sitting in the area. He and his family would like to thank this woman for her help. If you have any information on who she is, please email my office at chanoff@uncc.edu.

#NinerNationRises

Phil

Phil



Update: Rami Alramadhan

   May 20, 2019 - 4:10 PM

Rami AlramadhanDear UNC Charlotte Community,  

I am pleased to share an update from another Niner who is continuing his recovery. Rami Alramadhan asked us to let you know he recently had a follow-up surgery to remove a bullet from his abdomen, but he is healing and doing great. 

Please continue to keep Rami, Drew, Sean and Emily in your thoughts. 

#NinerNationRises

 

 

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor



Update: Drew Pescaro

   May 13, 2019 - 12:00 PM

Niner Nation: 

I am pleased to provide an additional update on Drew. His girlfriend, Erin Wilson, sent me this photo this past weekend, along with the following update to share: "We still have a little time left here in the hospital,  but Drew is feeling strong, and as you can see, he is happy as ever to be a Niner!"

Drew Pescaro

We are as happy as ever for him to be a Niner, too.

#NinerNationRises

Phil

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor, UNC Charlotte



Niner Nation Rises

   May 13, 2019 - 10:00 AM

Dear Niner Nation:

Each passing day since the tragic events of April 30 has left its own imprint on the collective consciousness of Niner Nation. We shared disbelief and sadness as we learned of the loss of Reed Parlier and Riley Howell. We united physically and virtually in memory of them and in support of Rami, Sean, Emily, and Drew through the candlelight vigil, in-person and online donations of time and resources, countless supportive words and texts, and the permanent Niner Nation Remembers website.

At commencement this past weekend, we rose together in celebration as Emily and nearly 4,800 other Niners graduated, and we rose together in honor as the families of Reed and Riley courageously took the stage to accept Degrees in Memoriam on their behalf. We will continue to rise together to meet the challenges and opportunities awaiting us in the days ahead.

While I’m grateful for the many ways Niner Nation has come together since April 30, it is important to acknowledge that our personal experiences are unique to each of us. Many of you have shared with me and with each other your own stories from the night of the attack and the hours and days that followed. Many of these stories are uplifting and affirming of our response, while others reflect the fear and confusion the attack inspired. Every story deserves to be heard.

As part of our after-action review, we have established a webform through which members of Niner Nation can share their own experiences and suggestions. Each submission will be provided to independent reviewers and considered internally to ensure your safety and well-being remain our top priorities. We can and should be proud of what we did right, but we also need to examine and learn from what we must do better.

Niner Nation has united together, and now we will rise together. Rising together requires acknowledging and understanding what we have endured as a community and as individuals. Rising together requires reaching out when we need help or encouragement, and lending strength when we have some to spare. Rising together requires embracing our grief and each other, allowing the memories of April 30 to propel us forward one step at a time. Niner Nation rises, but we will never forget.

Philip Dubois

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor

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Admitted Students and Parents Message

   May 13, 2019 - 9:00 AM

Dear Future 49ers and Families,

It’s been nearly two weeks since the unthinkable happened on our campus. Sometimes, it seems like yesterday; at other times, it seems like a lifetime ago.

We have been amazed by the outpouring of support from the local community, the state, and across the nation.

I know last week’s tragedy affected you too, so I wanted to reach out to you as a future 49er to offer my encouragement and support as you process this right along with the rest of us. A “Niner Nation Remembers” page on our website has been set up to capture the communications, responses, reactions, and messages of support. I encourage you to visit the page and get a glimpse into how our community has truly come together. We have mourned, we have united, and now we will find a path forward together.

I want to assure you that safety remains a top priority at UNC Charlotte, and our institution practices regular training and frequent drilling to plan for the unexpected. Our Department of Police and Public Safety is fully staffed year-round with regular patrols and instantaneous communications through a robust “NinerAlert” communication system. Additionally, our students (and their parents) are encouraged to download the LiveSafe app, which gives you a direct line to campus police.

I am very happy that you have decided to become a part of Niner Nation. If you have any questions or concerns that I can help to address, I encourage you to reach out to my office at chanoff@uncc.edu or 704-687-5700. And, of course, I know you’re in contact with our admissions folks who are the best in the business. We stand ready to provide help and support however we can.

I hope you have a great summer. Take care, and stay #CharlotteStrong! I look forward to welcoming you to campus in the fall.

Sincerely,

Philip L. Dubois
Chancellor

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Drew Pescaro is #CharlotteStrong

   May 10, 2019 - 1:21 PM

Dear Niner Nation,

I was pleased to receive this photo today from Fred Whitfield, president of the Charlotte Hornets. He had the opportunity to visit with Drew Pescaro and his family in the hospital. Drew and his family gave permission for us to share the photo along with the update he is doing well. Pictured with Drew are his mom, Denise; Fred; his dad, Ed; and his girlfriend, Erin Wilson.

Pictured with Drew are his mom, Denise; Fred; his dad, Ed; and his girlfriend, Erin Wilson.

Drew is #CharlotteStrong.

We continue to hold him, Emily, Rami and Sean in our thoughts during their ongoing recovery.

Phil

Phil



Niner Nation Remembrance Commission

   May 7, 2019 - 9:02 AM

Dear Niner Nation:

Yesterday, I announced that I would be forming a Niner Nation Remembrance Commission to lead the difficult conversations that will address how best to memorialize the victims and remember the tragedy that occurred on April 30.

I am pleased to share with you that fourteen members of the University and Charlotte communities have generously agreed to serve in this capacity, led by Emily Zimmern, former executive director and president of the Levine Museum of the New South. You can read more about the members on the Niner Nation Remembers website.

I have asked the commission to meet by the end of this month to organize their work. They will use the upcoming summer months to complete research on how other institutions and communities have reacted to tragedies similar to ours, and to allow time for reflection on the events of the past week.

We expect to have more to share with you about their work when we return for the start of the fall semester.

April 30 will always be part of our history, and we want to be thoughtful about how best to remember it.  

Today, I wrote an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer, thanking the community for the support they have given us and reflecting on the past week. I remain grateful to them and to you for rallying together, united as Niner Nation.

Phil

Phil

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Niner Nation Remembers

   May 6, 2019 - 3:30 PM

To the students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and friends of Niner Nation:

The events of last week are woven into the fabric that binds Niner Nation together, from the fear and shock we shared as the tragedy unfolded to the acts of heroism and sacrifice that saved many lives.  

To honor Riley Howell and Reed Parlier and in support of the four other students who suffered injuries -- Rami Alramadhan, Sean DeHart,  Emily Houpt, and Drew Pescaro -- we have established a permanent website, Niner Nation Remembers. The site includes an index of information from the week, as well as a photo gallery and a video archive of Wednesday’s vigil inside Halton Arena and the candlelight vigil which followed outside.  The website will also permit you to share your personal thoughts and reflections about the tragedy we suffered on Tuesday, April 30.

In time, we will memorialize Reed and Riley in other ways after we have talked with their families and considered a number of options. To ensure what we do is reflective of their lives and dreams for the future, I have formed a Niner Nation Remembrance Commission to provide guidance and insight on next steps. I will share more about the commission and its charge in the days ahead.

In addition to reflecting on the events of the past several days, we are looking down the road  to the coming weeks and months. As I said in my previous message to the campus community, my continuing priority  will be the safety and security of our campus. It is my responsibility to keep you informed of all the work that we do, including the results of the independent external after-action review of the incident that we will commission.   

I am so grateful for the love and support you have shown to me and for each other. I am so proud to be your chancellor. The events of last week are a part of all of us, but Niner Nation must  be defined by how we have pulled together in response. Niner Nation is #CharlotteStrong.

Philip Dubois

Chancellor Philip L. Dubois

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"Regular Operations"

A message to faculty and staff
   May 2, 2019 - 1:30 PM

Dear Colleagues:

Last night, all of you received the message that we would be returning to “regular operations” today. The use of the word “regular” was intentional, and a departure from our usual phrasing of returning to “normal operations” following a weather-related closing.

As soon as Police and Public Safety was made aware of the attack in the Kennedy building, the entire campus was placed on lockdown. Many of you were teaching classes, working in your offices, cleaning a campus building, serving food to our students, or taking buses to your vehicles at the end of your workday. Some of you remained in place for hours providing comfort to each other and to our students; some of you remained in place for hours all alone. Others of you were at home, out to dinner with friends or loved ones, or at a child’s after-school event, reading and watching as an unimaginable tragedy unfolded in the heart of the campus you cherish and work so hard to support. Still others, our brave first responders, were running toward the sound of gunshots and administering first aid to the injured and dying.

There is nothing “normal” about any of those experiences.

There is also nothing normal about the way our community has responded, both in rising to confront the evil as it occurred, and in the aftermath to provide resources and reassurance to those in physical and emotional need. There is nothing normal about the 8,000 people who packed Halton Arena last night for the beautiful candlelight vigil orchestrated by our students, or about the thousands of other individuals who showed their support by watching the vigil online or staging vigils in other locations. Niner Nation has spoken in word and deed.

In the days and weeks ahead, please make self-care a priority. Counseling services are available for all faculty and staff, and I strongly encourage you to take full advantage of those services as you process the events of this week. As we’re taking care of ourselves personally, let’s also ensure that we continue to look out for each other as we have over the past several days. That’s what Niners do.

I want to assure you that the safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff remains my #1 priority. In the weeks and months ahead, we will be conducting an extensive independent and external after-action review to look at what went well and to examine and address areas for improvement.

As I shared in the vigil, we will emerge from these difficult days. We will not emerge unchanged, but we will emerge united and stronger. That will be our new normal.

Phil

Phil

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Student Vigil Remarks

   May 1, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Thank you all for being here, for organizing our gathering this evening, and for being the compassionate and caring Niner Nation that you are.  I am proud to be your chancellor.

Let me acknowledge the presence of Congresswoman Adams, Governor Cooper, Mayor Lyles, Chancellor Jim Woodward, and the dozens of state and local elected officials and community leaders who are present today.  Thank you for being here.

Yesterday’s violence and the loss of Riley and Reed cuts to our core as a University community.  We are heartsick to believe that anyone would act with such complete disregard for human life, and we hope beyond hope for the full recovery of Drew, Sean, Emily, and Rami.  I can tell you that I was able to visit with Drew, Emily, and Rami in the hospital today, surrounded by their family and friends.  They are doing OK, as is Sean I am told who did not require hospitalization. 

The students we lost—Riley and Reed—and those who were injured, are all so young, like many of you, with dreams and aspirations and a purpose in life.  As parents ourselves, Lisa and I grieve for this senseless loss of young life and share in the anguish of their parents, their families, and you, their friends.  We can’t bring them back, but with your help we will find a way to remember their presence here as 49ers. 

These next days, weeks, and months will test our collective strength.  But, as I said yesterday, we have no course but to hold each other up, to work through this together, and to reaffirm our 49er purpose.  UNC Charlotte cannot – and will not – be defined by this tragedy; we must be defined by how we respond to it.   Our focus will be on those we lost, those who were hurt, and the countless others who were spared by the quick actions of our police officers.  As the facts emerge about what actually happened in Kennedy 236, we may learn of additional acts of heroism by Riley and perhaps others that saved other lives.  

With that, let’s stay Charlotte Strong. The days ahead will be difficult, but we will emerge from them. We will not emerge unchanged, but we will emerge united and stronger. Thank you all.

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Remembering those we have lost

   May 1, 2019 - 3:52 PM

To the Students, Employees, Alumni, Families, and Supporters of UNC Charlotte:

Words cannot adequately express the heartbreak we feel over yesterday’s tragic events, nor can they describe the selfless, overwhelming support you have provided. Even in the midst of UNC Charlotte’s darkest day, our greatest strength--our ability to unify with one heart and a common purpose--shines clearly through.

In that spirit of unity, I would ask that you join me in turning our hearts and minds to the families of the two members of our community who lost their lives. Some of us knew these young men as our students, our classmates, our friends, our family, our sons. For all of us, they were fellow members of Niner Nation, and we will learn and forever remember their names and their legacy.

Riley Howell, of Waynesville, NC, was a 21-year-old Environmental Studies major who enrolled in UNC Charlotte in Fall 2018 as a transfer from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Riley loved the outdoors, and Star Wars, and pizza; he played soccer and ran cross country in high school and was described by those close to him as upbeat and optimistic, and always with a smile on his face. Riley’s family describes him as always putting others ahead of himself, and nothing exemplifies that more than his final, heroic actions in defense of his fellow students. We will not forget Riley.

Ellis Reed Parlier, of Midland, NC, was a 19-year-old who intended to pursue a Computer Science major after enrolling at UNC Charlotte in Fall of 2017. Reed loved video games and aspired to one day become a game developer. Reed was a graduate of the highly regarded Central Academy of Technology and Arts, where he studied in the Information Systems academy. He was generous with his time and talents, volunteering as a computer programming tutor for middle school students. Reed’s professors describe him as independent and motivated. We will not forget Reed.

Our faculty have approved Degrees in Memoriam for both Riley and Reed, and I have reached out to each of their families. We will do everything we can to lift them up over the difficult days, weeks, and months ahead. Riley and Reed’s fellow students have organized a candlelight vigil to be held this evening at 6:00 PM in Halton Arena. For those who are unable to come to campus, we will livestream the vigil on our website.

We will use our time together at the vigil to honor the memory of Riley and Reed and to show support for their classmates who were injured in the attack. I have visited with the injured students and their families today, and many dedicated members of my staff have also spent time with them since they were admitted to the hospital. While these students have a difficult road ahead, all are expected to recover. Please keep these Niners in your hearts and minds, too, as they heal.

The days ahead will be difficult, but we will emerge from them. We will not emerge unchanged, but we will emerge united and stronger. I am grateful for you all.

Philip L. Dubois

Chancellor Philip L. Dubois

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Statement from Chancellor Dubois

   April 30, 2019 - 10:42 PM

This is the saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history. Earlier this evening, the unthinkable happened on our campus. At approximately 5:40 PM, an individual opened fire in a UNC Charlotte classroom, cutting short the lives of two members of our community and seriously injuring four others.

Families of the deceased victims are being notified, and university staff are with those who are injured. The entire UNC Charlotte community shares the shock and grief of this senseless, devastating act. This was an attack on all of Niner Nation.

I am proud of and grateful for the efforts of UNC Charlotte Police and Public Safety, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and other emergency officials. The suspected shooter is in custody and lives were saved thanks to their rapid response. Their work on campus will continue over the next several hours. Students and staff on campus should follow the instructions of law enforcement officials and the instructions issued in NinerAlerts. Everyone else should remain off campus until an all-clear message is issued.

The days ahead will be some of the most challenging we have ever encountered. All I can say for certain is that we will get through them together. There is still much that we don’t know, and we will share information with you as soon as it is available. Among those unknowns is how we will navigate the remainder of the semester, including the final examination schedule and graduation. Examinations will be canceled through Sunday while we formulate a plan for the following week.

Counseling and Psychological Services is currently providing counseling services to students who were on campus during the event. We intend to make counseling and spiritual support services available to the entire campus community beginning tomorrow morning. Faculty and staff who need support overnight should contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1-877-603-8259. Additional details regarding those services and other resources will follow in the coming hours.

Chancellor Philip L. Dubois

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