UNC Charlotte has received an external review of the April 30, 2019 campus shooting, where a gunman killed two students, Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, and injured four. While the final report is confidential, former Chancellor Phil Dubois provided a summary describing the changes that have been made since and the new steps that will be established to prevent another school shooting.
In July 2019, the University contracted the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and the National Police Foundation (NPF) to complete the review for $350,000. Although COVID-19 delayed the process, the report was finalized on June 15, 2020.
The summary included recommendations for improvement in four key areas: leadership, relationships and preparedness; crisis communication; threat assessment; and mental health, resilience and recovery.
Leadership, Relationships, and Preparedness: UNC Charlotte is recommended to continue to promote the culture of learning; instate additional procedures and training to promote knowledge of what to do if another campus shooting ever happened; work with local authorities to ensure that all faculty, staff and students are aware of the coordination and communication for the situation of an on-campus shooting; develop additional policies and processes to minimize the extent and impact of campus-wide lockdowns; and continue making training available to all faculty, staff and students.
Crisis Communication: While UNC Charlotte was efficient in communicating effectively last spring, it was recommended that the University clarify communication roles and responsibilities in a crisis and develop backup plans when communication is not available.
Threat Assessment: While it was noted that the University could not have identified the shooter ahead of time, UNC Charlotte is recommended to create a team to identify, assess and manage campus behavior regarding threat concerns. It was also suggested that the protocols, tools and standard procedures in place should be updated to expand training opportunities and threat-related training.
Mental Health, Resilience and Recovery: UNC Charlotte is encouraged to develop a long-term plan for supporting victims, families, witnesses and first responders. It was also recommended that UNC Charlotte provide long-term on-campus mental health care for individuals who were, directly and indirectly, involved in the trauma.
The summary identified two areas where UNC Charlotte was not as prepared as it could have been on April 30: It was not clearly articulated when the campus lockdown should be lifted, and control of the response was transferred from UNC Charlotte Police and Public Safety (PPS) to CMPD without advance coordination of certain decisions.