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UNCC Adds Classroom Security In Response To Spring Shooting, Plans Day Of Remembrance

Police officer at UNC Charlotte
Jodie Valade
A police officer stands guard at UNC Charlotte the day after a shooting in the spring of 2019.

In response to a classroom shooting in the spring, UNC Charlotte will add security measures that include equipping non-locking classrooms with kits to secure doors, the school’s chancellor said in a statement released Friday.

Additionally, the school is planning a day of remembrance for April 30, 2020, that includes a concert at Belk Theater, Chancellor Philip Dubois said. That day will mark one year since a gunman entered a classroom at UNC Charlotte’s campus and killed two students and injured four others.

UNCC Police Capt. Sarah Smyre
Credit UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte
UNCC Police Capt. Sarah Smyre holds a door wedge (left) and piece of cut fire hose that can be used to bar doors on campus.

By the end of this fall’s semester, all non-locking rooms will have either a wedge to slide beneath doors that open inward or a piece of cut fire hose to slip over the door closer of doors that open outwardly. These are expected to be temporary measures as the school’s Department of Safety and Security assesses long-term solutions for non-locking doors on campus.

The school also released a series of three safety videos to help students prepare in the event of an active shooter: Lockdown, Seek Shelter and Evacuation. Notably, the lockdown video reminds students to “run, hide, fight” when notified by the school’s NinerAlert system that a shooter is on campus.

Safety posters reminding of this information have been hung in all classrooms on campus and will be in all laboratory spaces by the end of the semester, the release said.

Meanwhile, at UNC Charlotte’s Center City campus, all faculty, staff and students will be required to wear 49er ID cards while in the building beginning Dec. 2.  

An independent, external review of the school’s response to the shooting on the last day of spring semester included interviews with key personnel two weeks ago. The same review group will hold “listening sessions” for the campus community the week of Jan. 13, 2020, with further details on that expected to be released at a later date.

UNC Charlotte’s day of remembrance will honor students Riley Howell and Reed Parlier, who were killed by the gunman, and serve to "(continue) the recovery process," Dubois said in the release. The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center gathering at 7:30 p.m. April 30, 2020, is slated to include performances by the Charlotte Symphony and UNC Charlotte students and alumni participating in music, dance, spoken word and multimedia works. It will be hosted by UNC Charlotte alumnus and CBS national correspondent Don Dahler. Tickets will go on sale in January 2020, and proceeds will benefit the April 30 Remembrance Fund.

Students also are planning on-campus remembrance events earlier that day.

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.