A Campus United by Tragedy

We at the Coalition have grieved with the Carolina family this past week, and we have been moved by the response on campus.

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz was a strong, steady leader in a tragic time. He spoke for all of us in his heartfelt video message, which he ended, “Remember, we are Carolina Strong.”

With the Chancellor, we mourn the death of Zijie Yan, a friend, father and respected faculty member.

We salute the public safety team and law enforcement officers who responded to the emergency, the faculty and staff who acted so professionally and the custodial workers who saw that doors were locked and everyone was safe, even if it may have put them in harm’s way.

Above all, we stand with the students who went through this experience and witnessed what can happen to any one of us in today’s world.

Faculty members have told us that, in many ways, the students were better prepared than anyone else. They’ve been doing lockdown drills in school since they were very young, some of them since kindergarten.

Surely, concerns will be raised and questions asked about some events that grim afternoon. Some doors wouldn’t lock. Some faculty didn’t take the first alerts seriously and kept teaching.

We are confident the University will review those issues and take all necessary steps to remedy problems.

As you can expect, some people in leadership positions expressed “thoughts and prayers” – but little more.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Firm action is needed.

Guns are the leading cause of death of young people in America. Assault weapons get the most attention, but handguns cause the most deaths.

Yet, earlier this year, the North Carolina legislature – against the advice of sheriffs and law enforcement – repealed the state’s pistol-permit law.

It isn’t right for students at Carolina – or anyone – to live in fear.

For Carolina to be strong, Carolina must be safe.

Chancellor’s message: https://www.unc.edu/posts/2023/09/01/a-message-from-chancellor-guskiewicz-thank-you-to-our-community/

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