Katie Causier Howell oral history interview 2, 2020 December 15
In this second of two interviews, Katie Causier Howell, University Archivist at UNC Charlotte continues to reflect on her significant work documenting the April 30, 2019 shooting tragedy that occurred on campus. Ms. Howell focuses on the work of the Remembrance Commission, which was appointed by Chancellor Philip Dubois in May 2019 with the charge to thoughtfully and compassionately lead a comprehensive process to determine how to best memorialize the victims and remember the tragedy that occurred on April 30. She describes how she was asked to join the Commission as University Archivist, and how the group came together in late May under the leadership of Emily Zimmern. The Commission re-convened in earnest in the fall semester with a full agenda to work in four sub-committees: namely Engagement, Memorial, Remembrance, and the future of the Kennedy building. Ms. Howell, who was appointed as the chair of the Remembrance sub-committee, describes how the four groups worked independently, but came together in an iterative process to make decisions and craft their final report by late 2019. She details the way that the Niner Nation Remembers Oral History Project came together in response to an interest in collecting personal narratives that was expressed in a survey distributed to the campus community. On the basis of this interest Ms. Howell was able to hire consultant Casey Moore to prepare for and conduct twenty-five interviews, creating the core of the collection. Other topics discussed include challenges faced by the Commission, the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on moving forward with remembrance plans, Ms. Howell's personal thoughts about creating a memorial space on campus, and her deepening awareness of the significance of empathy in archival work.