Dear Niner Nation,
In July of last year, I announced the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and the National Police Foundation (NPF) were retained to conduct an external review of the tragic shootings that took place on our campus on April 30, 2019. Though COVID-19 delayed the review process, their final report was submitted to me on June 15, 2020.
I have spent the past several days reviewing this report, along with members of my Cabinet and other safety, health services, and communication leaders on campus. I have also shared a copy of the report with Chancellor-elect Sharon Gaber and discussed the recommended next steps to ensure a seamless transition.
While the entirety of the report is a confidential document because of safety and security planning and preparedness, I want to provide a summary of their findings and a news release we will soon share with the community.
As you will see, IACLEA and NPF focused their review in four primary areas: leadership, relationships, and preparedness; crisis communication; threat assessment; and mental health, resilience, and recovery.
Their report is thorough, and I thank them for their work. The findings recognize the strengths of our community’s response, while also recommending areas where we can enhance our readiness for emergencies. None of the findings indicate there is anything the University could have done to have identified the shooter as a threat prior to the evening of April 30 or prevented the tragedy that occurred. I want to make clear that knowing this fact does not lessen the pain of losing Reed and Riley, nor erase the collective fear and grief our community experienced.
Working closely with Chancellor-elect Gaber, I have outlined my recommendations for the next steps the University needs to take in response to this report. They include:
reviewing and revising our Emergency Operations and crisis communication plans as appropriate;
additional research for further strengthening the University’s ability to identify, assess, and manage campus behavioral and threat-related concerns;
the development of an ongoing campus resilience plan with particular attention to supporting the campus community’s mental health needs; and
a review of training programs for employees and students, including active shooter response.
There is still work ahead to fully address the recommendations of this report, and I ask that you give Chancellor-elect Gaber the same support you have given me in these efforts.
Over the past 14 months, you have shown in countless ways the characteristics that have made Niner Nation so special to Lisa and me for the past 15 years: compassion for each other, courage to face challenges, and determination that UNC Charlotte will not be defined by what happened on our campus on April 30. We will be defined and remembered for our response.
Even during the hardest days we have experienced, it has been my honor to serve as your chancellor. Niner Nation’s future is strong because of you.
Philip L. Dubois