Christine Reed Davis oral history interview 1, 2020 November 24
Dr. Christine Reed Davis, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at UNC Charlotte, describes her background, her career at UNC Charlotte, and her personal and professional experience in regard to the April 30 2019 mass shooting on campus. Dr. Davis describes how her career path took shape in her junior and senior years at Central Connecticut State University when she became interested in psychology and student affairs, and how she pursued this interest in graduate school at the University of Georgia. She details how she was drawn to UNC Charlotte, which as a young institution provided her with the opportunity for upper-level involvement early in her career. Dr. Davis credits UNC Charlotte for encouraging collaboration and engagement at all levels of leadership, and stresses that her job as Dean of Students relies on relationship building in addition to creating effective policies and structures. She outlines ways in which both she and the campus community were prepared for the crisis of April 30 2019, partly through training and working with consultants on crisis responses, and partly through the iterative process of facing real life challenges including student fatalities, weather crises, and the response to the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in 2016 that prompted student protests. In the second half of the interview Dr. Davis details her personal and professional experiences on April 30 2019, which took her from a classroom on campus where she was herself a student, to the Student Union where she took refuge and was on lock down for three and a half hours while struggling to carry out her duties as part of a central crisis response team, and eventually to directly assisting student victims and their families at the Carolinas Medical Center's main hospital in Charlotte. She concludes the interview with a summary of her work over the next days, weeks, and months, which encompassed responding with compassion and emotional support to her team, to the student body, and to the wider campus community, while also carrying out and adapting the regular operations of the institution.