Thursday, April 30 will mark the one year anniversary of the fatal shooting inside a classroom on UNC Charlotte’s campus that killed two and injured four. The Niner Nation Remembrance Commission with the assistance of several students and faculty members has spent months planning an anniversary event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing guidelines, they were forced to condense the activities into an online format.
Beginning at 5:10 p.m. on Thursday, a live stream will be available on the University’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The half-hour stream will consist of statements from Chancellor Phil Dubois, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Kevin Bailey and Former Student Body President Chandler Crean. The speakers will be followed by alumnus and CBS correspondent Don Dahler hosting musical performances from the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Uptown Charlotte.
To conclude it all, Former Student Body Vice President Adela Mann will ring the UNC Charlotte bell seven times. Four rings will honor each student who was injured, two will honor both students who passed away and one ring will honor the entire class. This will occur at 5:40 p.m. - the same time the shooting began last year.
Other campus departments have their own remembrance plans. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has Zoom meetings scheduled for various art, yoga and therapy dog sessions throughout April 30. Atkins Library will soon be publishing The Niner Nation Remembers Oral History Project, a collection of first hand accounts of April 30, 2019 gathered by University Archives over the last four months.
As a result of the online format, several performances were shortened or cut from the program, including a full length remembrance concert at the Blumenthal and contributions from UNC Charlotte’s dance, music and theater departments as well as alumni performers. In addition, Craver Road was set to be shut down in the afternoon for an outdoor congregation.
Vice Chancellor Bailey expressed his disappointment that people will not be physically uniting together during this time. However, he remains optimistic that online resources will provide a sense of togetherness and an outlet to express personal sentiments.
“The virus has taken the community away from us,” said Bailey. “But hopefully through social media and other ways people will be able to express emotion that still resonates with us although we are not able to be physically together as a community.”
Former Student Body President Chandler Crean says that the first anniversary is the beginning of a three-year timeline proposed by the Remembrance Committee. Throughout the next year they will collect and vote upon design submissions for a memorial structure, breaking ground on the second anniversary. On the third anniversary, the memorial will be officially unveiled and dedicated.
“It’s going to look completely different,” said Crean regarding future anniversaries. "Especially once everyone who was on campus during the tragedy graduates and we’ll have new incoming classes. That’s where we had to take all of that into consideration.”
After the third anniversary, Crean says that April 30 will likely remain an annual day of remembrance at UNC Charlotte.
Correction: The article originally stated that Vince Graham would ring the bill. This has been corrected to Adela Mann. The Niner Times regrets this error.