Messages from the Chancellor

Additional messages from Chancellor Dubois can be found on Niner Nation Remembers.

There is nothing “normal” about any of those experiences

-- A message to faculty and staff

May 2, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.

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.


Chancellor stresses spirit of unity in afternoon statement

May 1, 2019 at 3:45 p.m.

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.


Statement from Chancellor Dubois 

April 30, 2019 at 10:42 p.m.

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.