Thursday, September 22, 2016

The violence seen in Uptown Charlotte last night saddens all of us. In stark contrast, yesterday we witnessed two meaningful and moving peaceful gatherings organized by our students in and around the Student Union. I was extremely proud of them.

The campus remains safe and secure. Regularly scheduled classes and activities will go on today as planned. Although some have encouraged me to cancel classes, I believe that the unique power of the University as a place for education, dialogue, and reflection is a compelling reason not to do so. 

I encourage faculty members who wish to dedicate class time to discuss the events of the last few days in Charlotte or the larger national issues with respect to racial equity to do so. I also encourage them to exercise flexibility with respect to their class attendance policies to the extent that circumstances allow. 

Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the institution that has become UNC Charlotte. Founders Week activities have continued in full recognition that the events of this week have been both saddening and challenging.  And so it will be today (Thursday), as we dedicate the naming of our Student Union to two former student government presidents who have taken the success they enjoyed in their careers as a result of their college degrees and have chosen to support the University they love. 

Notably, one of our honorees is a white female, a successful lawyer. The other is an African-American male, a first-generation college student and a graduate of our University Transition Opportunities Program, who has enjoyed success in the financial services industry. The union of their names permanently attached to our Student Union is a fitting reminder that our diversity is a strength. Please join us at noon. 

- Philip L. Dubois, Chancellor

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, Chancellor Dubois issued this statement on the University City shooting and protests:

As a campus community that serves as an anchor for all of University City, we grieve the loss of human life and extend our condolences to the family of Keith Lamont Scott. We trust that city and police officials will conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his death.

With respect to the events of last night, I can assure all faculty, staff, and students, and their families that the campus was secure at all times. We were in immediate and continuing contact with the city’s law enforcement officials and were able to ascertain that there was not a threat to our campus, our employees, or our on-campus residents. Rumors circulated via social media that an individual with a weapon was present on campus were immediately investigated by campus police and were found to have no basis in fact.

Scheduled classes and other campus activities will continue as planned. However, we support faculty members who wish to dedicate class time to discuss this incident and affirm the rights of members of the campus community to express their concerns in peaceful protest. We are an institution of higher learning. Our Mission Statement endorses social and cultural diversity, free expression, and mutual respect.

The Multicultural Resource Center is hosting a community circle discussion from noon to 1:30 p.m. today for campus community members in Student Union, Room 200. As always, any student who needs additional support should contact the Office of the Dean of Students or the University Counseling Center.

In the aftermath of the protest activity that followed the shooting of Mr. Scott, we have become aware of some irresponsible social media postings that have intimidated or threatened individuals or groups. I commit our staff to a thorough investigation of all unacceptable behavior by any member of the campus community.

Our first priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the campus community. We will dedicate all necessary resources to that end.