Niner Nation Remembers Oral History Project

Aman Agah oral history interview, 2020 May 29
Aman Agah, adjunct faculty in Women's and Gender Studies and International Studies at UNC Charlotte, shares their experience at UNC Charlotte on April 30th, 2019 and how they connected with students and felt concern in the aftermath of the campus shooting. Aman Agah had just finished teaching a class in the Fretwell building around 5pm on April 30th and left campus unaware of the tragedy unfolding. They speak about holding an optional meeting for students the week after the shooting to provide comfort and an outlet to express their concerns, and also about providing yoga classes on campus on the first anniversary of the tragedy. As a professor teaching Women's and Gender Studies, Aman Agah was already aware of issues of police violence, systematic racism, President Trump's Muslim Ban and other challenges facing people of color. They express their concern for how students would feel and be treated in the aftermath of the shooting on campus. They speak to the University's handling of tragedy, the lack of guidance surrounding available mental health services, and the overall feeling that the University used the tragedy for public relations gain. Aman Agah ends by discussing how students process grief and trauma, the importance of understanding student mental health, and the impact of memorials and collective memory in the wake of tragedy.
Jeffrey Baker oral history interview, 2020 February 27
Chief Jeffrey Baker shares his experience leading UNC Charlotte Police on the evening of April 30th, 2019, after reports of an active shooter in the Kennedy building. Chief Baker had finished the evening roll call for officers working the Waka Flaka Flame concert, a show scheduled to take place at the football stadium on campus that evening, when he received reports of a shooter and proceeded toward the Kennedy building. He discusses major decisions that had to be made, such as locking down campus and declaring the subject in custody was acting alone, as well as managing the 200 Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) officers and officers from other counties who had arrived to assist UNCC Police. In the hours after the shooting, Chief Baker met with local and state politicians, media outlets, officials with the SBI, FBI and other agencies, and spoke to family members gathered at the Family Reunification Center. Chief Baker discusses counseling services made available to officers in the days and weeks after the tragedy and the support the police received from the greater Charlotte community. He concludes his interview speaking to the complex profession that is policing and the resilience of Americans to overcome tragedy.
Audrey Baran oral history interview, 2020 April 28
Audrey Baran was an adjunct lecturer in UNC Charlotte's Department of Dance in April of 2019 when an active shooter took the lives of two students and injured four others. In the days following the April 30th tragedy, Ms. Baran held a yoga class in Plaza Midwood for her friends and students that included forty-nine sun salutations in honor of the victims. She choreographed a piece for the Department of Dance's 2019 fall concert entitled "Luck of the Young." The piece featured twelve students who were enrolled during the tragedy and centered on their experiences that day. The dance highlighted the reality of gun violence in America and the effect the tragedy had on the community as a whole. Ms. Baran reflects on the sense of unity and pride exhibited by students in the aftermath of the shooting, comparing that with her own undergraduate experience that lacked a prevalence of school spirit. She observed more connection between the arts community and UNCC in the wake of the tragedy and ends by discussing the stigma surrounding mental health and her hope that students feel supported.
John Bogdan oral history interview 2020 January 9
John Bogdan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Safety and Security, shares his personal account of working to manage the campus emergency response to the April 30th shooting, while headquartered in the Police and Facilities Management building on UNC Charlotte's campus. Colonel Bogdan describes his background in emergency operations and how he came to be employed with the University only a year before the shooting occurred. Colonel Bogdan describes in detail the decisions which were made in the hours after the shooting was reported, and aid that was received from Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, Mecklenburg EMS services (Medic), Charlotte Douglas International Airport and other city entities. Colonel Bogdan describes lessons learned from managing the campus lockdown and speaks to the future possibility of establishing a hot zone that would be cleared prior to lifting a lockdown. He acknowledges that the teamwork of emergency services, campus police and others, led to the shooter being in custody and the campus locked down in around seven minutes- an extraordinary feat for a campus as large as UNC Charlotte. Colonel Bogdan ends the interview by discussing his thoughts on how best to remember an event as tragic as a campus shooting.
Kim Bradley oral history interview 2, 2019 November 21
Kim Bradley, Chief of Staff to Chancellor Philip L. Dubois discusses the events of April 30, 2019 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, beginning with the moment she realized that there had been a shooting on campus. She discusses the steps taken by the University to manage the situation that day, including the logistics of getting the chancellor, who was on a flight to Indianapolis for a meeting, back to Charlotte as quickly as possible. She also talks about actions taken by the administration in the days after the shooting, such as providing relevant information for the campus community, operational decisions related to final exams/commencement, the creation of a policy group involving multiple units within the university to respond to the tragedy, and providing emotional support services to the campus community. Anecdotally, she comments on a double rainbow seen over the campus on May 6 and how many associated that with Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, the two slain students. Ms. Bradley concludes the interview reflecting on what April 30 will mean to the University going forward, as well as her work on the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission including what it has done to date, and what it hopes to accomplish in terms of formally memorializing April 30, 2019.
Mark D. Colone oral history interview, 2021 December 15
Mark Colone, Senior Director of Development for Advancement at UNC Charlotte, discusses his experiences related to the April 30th 2019 campus shooting and its aftermath. [All times approximate]. [00:00] Introductions and description of circumstances leading to Mr. Colone's decision to attend UNC Charlotte as a student in 1979, his involvement with athletics, and his educational path. [05:35] Discussion of Mr. Colone's first professional position as Assistant of Sports Information at UNC Charlotte, his subsequent promotion to Sports Information Director after only two years, and what the position involved. He describes starting his own sports marketing company in 1998 before returning to UNC Charlotte in 2015. [13:20] Discussion of Mr. Colone's personal experience on April 30th 2019, the outpouring of support he received from friends and colleagues across the country, his admiration for leadership on campus, and his sense of a loss of innocence for the UNC Charlotte community. [18:20] Mr. Clone reflects on the significant change on campus immediately following the shooting. He lists the extraordinary connections that he discovered he had to victims Reed Parlier, Emily Houpt, and Drew Pescaro. He notes the bravery of the ROTC student who assisted campus police at the scene of the shooting. [22:00] He describes the immediate need to sensitively manage end of semester events, commencement in particular. He describes the circumstances that led to his close involvement with victims Reed and Riley's families on behalf of the University. He notes the personalities of Reed and Riley and the tragedy of lost young lives. [35:25] Mr. Colone acknowledges the leadership of Chancellor Dubois and Chief Baker following the shooting, the crisis of mental health in the United States, and the availability of guns. [38:15] He reflects on the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020 on mourning and memorializing victims of the shooting. He describes the intimate remembrance ceremony of 2021 and praises the process for planning a memorial structure. [42:50] He concludes the interview with his thoughts about the Kennedy building and the resiliency of students despite the challenges of tragedy and disease.
John Cox oral history interview 1, 2020 May 18
John Cox, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies,and Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, shares his experience of April 30th, 2019. Dr. Cox discusses how he found out about the campus shooting of that day, and his reaction when he realized the tragedy had occurred in a friend's class. He recalls how students and colleagues came together to check on one another and specifically praises a student group, Higher Peace, which formed in one of his spring 2019 classes. He speaks to his personal thoughts on the University's response, the somewhat superficiality of the Niner Nation Unites campaign, and his participation in the Friday night vigil. Dr. Cox discusses his conversations with various housekeeping, facilities and dining services workers and their treatment by upper management in the days after the shooting. He recounts how a Prospector worker used her medical knowledge to treat an injured student and his involvement in reuniting the student and worker, whom he considers a hero. He discusses the treatment of minimum wage workers and their connection to the University, noting that all employees consider themselves part of the Niner Nation. Dr. Cox often teaches about sensitive subjects in his courses on Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies and ends by speaking to how the event has made him more conscious and aware of student trauma and of how we communicate with those experiencing trauma.
John Cox oral history interview 2, 2020 May 21
In this second of two interviews, John Cox, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies,and Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, shares more of his experience of April 30th, 2019. Dr. Cox discusses the experiences of low paid workers at UNC Charlotte and the importance of documenting their experiences surrounding the shooting. In the week after the shooting, Dr. Cox spoke with multiple facilities, housekeeping, and dining services workers about their experience in the aftermath of the shooting on campus. He expresses his concern over the treatment of workers by the administration and the lack of a collective voice for low paid workers on campus, which was apparent after the shooting. He reads from personal notes written after speaking with UNC Charlotte workers in the week after the tragedy and notes the lack of information provided to workers regarding counseling, and their fear of retaliation in speaking out. Dr. Cox reached out to the Chancellor's office and administrative officials after the shooting and discusses their responses to his emails. He continues to share his concern for dining workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as many were furloughed, and reiterates his recollection of the powerful examples of compassion which emerged in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Chandler Crean oral history interview, 2020 March 27
Chandler Crean assumed the role of Student Government Association President for the 2019-2020 year at UNC Charlotte just a few weeks before the tragic shooting on April 30, 2019. Mr. Crean recounts his involvement in student activities during his time at UNC Charlotte, and notes that he was waiting in line to attend the Waka Flaka Flame concert when he realized something had happened on campus. Mr. Crean speaks about being involved in press conferences with Chief Baker and Chancellor DuBois and his role in the vigil the night following the shooting. He describes how he served on the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission and helped to plan remembrance events for the first anniversary of the tragedy. In conclusion Mr. Crean discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic altered plans for the remembrance events and how he believes his work with the Memorial Advisory Group will affect students at UNC Charlotte for years to come.
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.
Christine Reed Davis oral history interview 2, 2020 December 9
In this second of two interviews, Dr. Christine Reed Davis, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at UNC Charlotte, discusses the aftermath and effects of the April 30, 2019 mass shooting on campus. Dr. Davis describes the emergency communications systems and strategies that were in place prior to the shooting. She stresses the importance of the Emergency Operations Center designed to coordinate communications and responsibilities in a crisis, and coordination between the Chancellor's Cabinet and Policy Group. Previous crises had tested and strengthened these systems so that, despite the chaos and confusion of unfolding real-time events, the immediate response to the shooting event was coordinated and collaborative. Dr. Davis details her central role in the response, which was to support student victims including all students enrolled in the targeted class as well as those who were injured. She describes the outpouring of support and sympathy that was expressed by the student body and the wider Charlotte community, and how she and her team coordinated the collection of donations and mementos sent to the families of deceased and injured students. In addition to a focus on students, Dr. Davis relates how she collaborated on creating training sessions for faculty and staff towards the end of the summer in preparation for addressing student concerns in the fall. She also became aware of a need for students who had been directly affected by the shooting to meet as a support group, which she was able to coordinate for several sessions until the COVID pandemic caused everything to close down in the spring of 2010. She remarks on the impacts of the shooting on students that varied from survivor guilt, to post traumatic stress disorder, anger, fear, and resiliency. She marvels at the resourcefulness, courage, and strength of student leaders who immediately came together to mourn and begin to heal the campus community, and also the students who took steps to involve themselves in political activism for policy change. Dr. Davis reflects that her own career has not changed significantly as a result of the shooting since her focus has always been crisis management, but rather that the event re-emphasized aspects of her work that were already central, including the importance of relationship building, transparency in leadership, and living one's values. She relates her personal thoughts about how to memorialize April 30, and her concerns that the COVID 19 pandemic has in many ways eclipsed the healing process and disguised any cultural shifts in the student body that otherwise might have taken shape as a result of the tragedy.
Betty Doster oral history interview 2, 2020 April 21
Betty Doster, Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Constituent Relations, discusses the events of April 30th 2019 and her role in coordinating elected and public officials. Ms. Doster was attending a legislative session in Raleigh when she received news of the shootings on campus. After speaking with Charlotte's City Manager and Mayor Vi Lyles, Ms. Doster drove back to Charlotte where she began coordinating various public officials' visits to campus. After an internal briefing that evening, the Chancellor and Ms. Doster went to the Town Center Plaza shopping mall parking lot across University City Boulevard from campus to address families. Over the next twenty-four hours, Ms. Doster managed communications between UNC Charlotte and elected officials, and managed those who wanted to attend the vigil on May 1st. She notes the outpouring of respect, goodwill and affection for the University shown by public officials, many of who planned to participate in the April 30th 2020 Remembrance Day events. Ms. Doster concludes by praising Chancellor Dubois' leadership and noting that Mayor Lyles presented Chancellor Dubois the Harvey Gantt Award for his fifteen years of service with the University, but also for his leadership in Charlotte's darkest time.
Philip L. Dubois oral history interview 9, 2020 February 25
Dr. Philip L. Dubois, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) discusses the April 30th shooting and the campus response to the tragedy in both the immediate aftermath and in the long-term. This included crisis communication, the remembrance vigil, altered commencement plans, and the immediate impact to the campus. Long term issues involve establishing the Remembrance Commission, planning for the one-year anniversary (he notes work undertaken while President of the University of Wyoming related to the Matthew Shepard murder in 1998), and potential plans for the spaces in Kennedy affected by the shooting. Chancellor Dubois also mentions meeting and speaking with Craig Terrell, the father of the shooter. He recalls what Mr. Terrell told him of his son's background. He concludes the interview discussing plans for "UNC Charlotte United: April 30 - A Remembrance Concert." (Note: due to Covid19, the live portions of "UNC Charlotte United: April 30 - A Remembrance Concert" were shifted to a virtual experience.)
Celeste Godwin oral history interview, 2020 February 25
Police officer Celeste Godwin shares her experience on duty the night of April 30th, 2019 when an active shooter was reported on UNC Charlotte's campus. Officer Godwin was scheduled to work the Waka Flaka Flame concert and was stationed on the ground level of the football field when the call came across the radio. She discusses her immediate thoughts and actions as she and other officers drove an unmarked police car toward the Kennedy building, including looks of concern by those lined up for the concert. She was responsible for walking uninjured students from the Kennedy classroom toward Colvard and away from the scene. She recalls how active shooter training could never prepare someone for a real situation and that senior officers were helpful in helping others cope in the aftermath of the shooting. She goes on to share her thoughts on the aftermath and how she feels students feel more safe. She would like to see the police department and other emergency officials hold a 5K run in remembrance of the students who died and the community which was affected; a run she feels would symbolize the bond between officers, the campus, and community in the wake of tragedy. She ends by sharing an emotional moment that occured in the days after the shooting when she attended a Carrie Underwood concert. The singer paid tribute to UNC Charlotte by singing the song "The Bullet," which resonated with Officer Godwin.
Christopher Gonyar oral history interview, 2019 December 10
Christopher Gonyar, Director of Emergency Management at UNC Charlotte, shares his personal account of managing aspects of the emergency response to the April 30th shooting, headquartered in the Police and Facilities Management building on campus. Mr. Gonyar describes his background in disaster and emergency management in the private sector before accepting a position at UNC Charlotte in 2014. He describes in detail the evening of April 30th and morning of May 1st, his correspondence with campus police, and the decisions that were made in real-time, such as notifications in the Niner Alert system and removal of staff and students from buildings on lock down. He speaks to updates that were made to the University's active shooter protocol following April 30th and the increase in active shooter training the University has provided to staff and students. He remembers vividly his entrance into the Kennedy building, noticing the personal affects students left behind. He closes expressing the need to remember students Ellis Reed Parlier and Riley Howell when remembering April 30th.
James Granberry oral history interview, 2019 October 30
In this interview, James Granberry, UNC Charlotte student, discusses his personal experiences and thoughts related to the on April 30, 2019 shootings. Mr. Granberry describes how and when he first heard about the shooting on UNC Charlotte's campus, how he transported other students off campus, and his feelings on how the incident affected the campus community as a whole.
Lauren Gregg oral history interview, 2020 February 13
Lauren Gregg worked as the Senior Director of University Events and Programs at UNC Charlotte and shares her experience during and after the campus shooting of April 30th, 2019. Ms. Gregg was at her son's soccer practice upon receiving news that a shooting had occurred on campus. She was included in the Chancellor's policy group meeting at 7am the next day, as the University's commencement ceremony was only ten days away. She speaks to the changes in ceremony programming, such as pushing the ceremony's start time and increasing security measures, and applauds Chancellor Dubois' decisions surrounding the ceremony and the subsequent faculty/staff social. Ms. Gregg remarks on the way in which the community embraced the University in the aftermath of April 30th and applauds the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission for their work. She concludes with a discussion of her involvement with the one year anniversary events scheduled for 2020, and how the University has chosen to remember the tragedy.
Richard Gundacker oral history interview, 2020 January 15
Patrol Lieutenant (Patrol Sergeant at the time of the event), Richard Gundacker shares his experience on the evening of April 30th, 2019, as the first UNC police officers to arrive at the Kennedy building after reports of an active shooter, and as the officer who secured room 236 where the shooting took place. Lieutenant Gundacker maintains that years of service with the New York City police helped drive his response to the emergency situation as he identified the shooter, cuffed him and removed him from the room in the Kennedy building. He remarks on the pride he felt that younger officers followed protocol well and that the incident helped bring the department together. Lieutenant Gundacker speaks to how important talking about the incident has been for younger officers, and that he felt an outpouring of support from the University to the campus police force.
Susan Harden oral history interview, 2020 April 15
Susan Harden was a UNC Charlotte professor and Mecklenburg County Commissioner in April of 2019 when an active shooter took the lives of two students and injured four others on campus. Dr. Harden discusses how she responded to the shooting as both a faculty member and elected official. On the night of April 30th, 2019, Dr. Harden spoke with media outlets and with concerned parents and family members at the Emergency Center erected in the parking lot of the Town Center Plaza shopping mall on University City Boulevard. She remembers speaking to Reid Parlier's father prior to the release of the victim's names, discussing the Kennedy building where she herself taught, and what types of classes were held there. Dr. Harden had been a part of the organization Moms Demand Action and remembers a UNC Charlotte student group, Real Change Now, forming in the wake of the shooting. She spoke at the March For Our Lives press conference held at UNC Charlotte on Friday, May 3rd, a few days after the shooting, and continues to believe that elected officials did not do enough in response to the tragedy and have failed to pass measures to keep students safe. The University asked Dr. Harden to develop and teach curriculum for faculty surrounding best practices in "Teaching Through Tragedy" without triggering students. Dr. Harden considers this responsibility an honor and a positive contribution to UNC Charlotte during a tragic time.
Elizabeth A. Hardin oral history interview 3, 2019 December 17
Elizabeth Hardin, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs at UNC Charlotte, discusses the events of April 30, 2019, when a gunman opened fire in a classroom on campus. Ms. Hardin was at an off campus event at the Center City Building at the time of the shooting. As she returned to campus, she recalls seeing hundreds of students situated around the periphery as directed by law enforcement. She was able to arrange for Advent Lutheran Church, located across the street from the University, to open and give the students somewhere to rest. This was followed by a "family reunification area" established in the adjacent Harris Teeter parking lot. Ms. Hardin describes how the crowd of parents kept thinning until there was only one parent left- Brian Parlier, the father of Reed Parlier, one of two students who were killed by the gunman. She discusses the history of crisis communication at UNC Charlotte and gives a lot of credit to Associate Vice Chancellor Gary Stinnett for his work in keeping the families and students informed during and after the events of April 30. Ms. Hardin concludes the interview talking about the long and short term implications of the shooting.
Mike Hill oral history interview, 2020 April 24
Mike Hill was the Athletic Director at UNC Charlotte in April of 2019 when an active shooter took the lives of two students and injured four others on campus. Mr. Hill was on paternity leave on April 30th and at the gym when he received the "run, hide, fight" Niner Nation alert and simultaneously began to see breaking news coverage of the possibility of an active shooter on UNC Charlotte's campus. He helped to coordinate securing the baseball stadium as UNC Charlotte was hosting UNC Greensboro in a baseball game on the evening of April 30th. As a member of the Chancellor's Cabinet and Policy Group, Mr. Hill describes the strong leadership of Chancellor Dubois and the strong focus on the victims and their families as the group began to plan for events such as commencement, and considerations for the mental health of students and staff. Mr. Hill discusses the long term impact on campus athletics, including prominently using the slogan "We are all Niners" and increased security measures at sporting events. Mr. Hill concludes with comments on the strong embrace UNC Charlotte received from the City of Charlotte and athletics, including recognition from the Charlotte Knights and seeing the city skyline lit in Niner green.
Katie Causier Howell oral history interview 1, 2020 December 10
Katie Causier Howell, University Archivist at UNC Charlotte, discusses her career and her personal and professional experiences regarding the April 30, 2019 campus shooting. She describes her passion for her profession as an archivist and her career experiences at Charlotte Piedmont Community College before becoming the University Archivist at UNC Charlotte in 2016. Ms. Howell details her response and that of her department of Special Collections and University Archives following the campus shooting, when it became clear that it was important to document the tragedy as part of University history. She describes the surreal scene in the J Murrey Atkins Library on the day after the shooting and how she organized colleagues to systematically collect student effects that had been abandoned the day before when police swept the building. Efforts to document the tragedy took shape as the University administration reached out to University Archives to collaborate over preserving ephemeral memorial materials that were gathering daily at two locations on campus: the steps of the Kennedy Building which was the scene of the shooting, and the bronze statue of the school mascot, the "49er Miner". Ms. Howell describes how she and her team worked with Facilities Management to collect and archive memorial materials, with particular concern to communicate the purpose of collecting to the campus community. She also describes how these materials were archived either via photographs or as artifacts in the UNC Charlotte April 30 Tragedy Memorial Collection, and how families of deceased students, Riley Howell and Reed Parlier, gathered to view the materials and choose items they wished to keep themselves. Ms. Howell notes how the work of documenting the tragedy, while deeply sad, was also cathartic and how the memorials offered hope as an expression of community concern and love. She reflects on her resistance to becoming a center of attention professionally and in local media, while at the same time acknowledging her gratitude to other archivists for sharing their experiences with documenting tragedy, and her commitment to do the same for others.
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.
Jesh Humphrey oral history interview, 2020 April 23
James "Jesh" Humphrey, Vice Chancellor of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel at UNC Charlotte, discusses the events of April 30th 2019 and his role in aiding the University's emergency management response and later communication and fundraising efforts. Mr. Humphrey was driving back from Chapel Hill upon receiving news of the tragedy unfolding on UNC Charlotte's campus. He discusses his role as a member of the Crisis Communications Team and helping to construct the Niner Alert messages. He remembers Chancellor Dubois' leadership in the days after the shooting and speaks to his own personal duties for campus communications and press releases. Mr. Humphrey discusses legal issues surrounding fundraising and distribution of the Niner Nation Remembrance Fund. He closes by reflecting on the city and local community's embrace of UNC Charlotte and his thoughts and feelings about attending the May 1st candlelight vigil at Halton Arena.
Adam Johnson oral history interview, 2020 May 7
Adam Johnson was a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at UNC Charlotte in April of 2019 and recounts his memory of a gunman opening fire inside his LBST class in the Kennedy building on April 30th. Mr. Johnson recalls his class being in the middle of team presentations when he heard gunshots and began ushering students out of one of the two doors in the classroom. As students left the building and began to disperse, he remembers bringing some students into the Barnard Building, where they hid in the Anthropology Department Chair's office and called 911. Mr. Johnson sought solace in close friends over the next few days, choosing not to attend the vigil because he felt it should be solely about the victims and injured students. He also visited his injured students in the next few days and still stays in contact with many of his students. He speaks about being invited to attend the Remembrance events at UNC Charlotte in 2020, but was living in Texas at the time. He discusses his decision to not attend the virtual event (United : A Remembrance Program) marking the first anniversary of the shooting because it is a tragedy he remembers every day of his life. Mr. Johnson concludes by discussing how the experience changed his life and affected him as a teacher. He feels the best way to remember Reed Parlier and Riley Howell should be some type of living memorial and that their names should be part of the UNC Charlotte culture moving forward.
Jules Keith-Le oral history interview, 2020 May 12
Jules Keith-Le shares her experience surrounding the events of April 30th, 2019 as an Instructional Design and Technology Specialist for the Center For Teaching and Learning at UNC Charlotte. Ms. Keith-Le worked in the Kennedy building and managed the Active Learning Academy for faculty, which utilized rooms 234 and 236 as active learning classrooms. Ms. Keith-Le had planned the Active Learning Academy's annual Spring Expo, which was set to take place on May 1st, 2019, when she received the "Run, Hide, Fight" Niner Nation Alert. She discusses text messages between her Associate Director and others in the department trying to locate colleagues, and her reaction when she learned it was Adam Johnson's class that had been targeted. She discusses the difficulty of returning to work only seventy-two hours after the tragedy and her reaction to the Kennedy building and classroom 236. She discusses the future of the two active learning classrooms, the Niner Strong/Charlotte Strong campaigns to unite the community and the remembrance materials left on the steps of Kenney to remember the first year of the shooting on April 30th, 2020. She concludes speaking about coordinating active shooter training for her department and its necessity, and dedicating a new book on active learning at UNC Charlotte to the students of classroom 236.
Chesney Klubert oral history interview, 2020 June 11
Chesney Klubert, personnel specialist at the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte, reflects on her personal experiences on and following April 30, 2019, when a gunman opened fire on a class of students on campus. Ms. Klubert had left campus early on that day and she describes her shock, grave concern, and strong compulsion to connect with colleagues and friends to establish their safety and also for mutual support. She notes her personal need to digest the news as it emerged through official and unofficial channels during the evening of the shootings and beyond, and how she felt driven to listen empathetically to others describing their experiences. Ms. Klubert relays narratives of her colleagues' experiences anonymously. She notes the cathartic but also emotionally exhausting effect of both recalling and listening to traumatic stories, and her sense of responsibility for engaging in this way at a time when people were experiencing the immediate effects of the trauma and structures of emotional support were not yet in place for staff and faculty. Ms. Klubert describes her visceral reaction to the Kennedy building where the shooting took place, a feeling that did not shift until school started in the fall of 2019 with the return of student activity. She also describes how following the shooting she became hypervigilant in public spaces. She remarks on what she felt was an unprecedented outpouring of support following the shooting from the broader Charlotte community, and the different impacts that the event had on campus groups. Ms. Klubert concludes the interview with reflections on how she would like to see April 30 and the tragic loss of lives on that day commemorated in the Belk Plaza adjacent to the Kennedy building.
Betty Ladner oral history interview, 2020 July 2
Betty Ladner, recently retired Executive Director of External Relations and longtime member of the Senior Management Team for the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte reflects on her career and details her experiences on April 30, 2019. Ms. Ladner relates her career path, focusing on her role as a medical librarian and information specialist for Wake Forest Medical School from 1992-1999. During the latter years of her career at Wake Forest, Ms. Ladner worked closely with healthcare institutions in a seventeen-county region in Northwest North Carolina. She reflects on how this period was a time of significant change in Information Science. Ms. Ladner joined the faculty at J. Murrey Atkins Library in 1999. She relates that she was in her office on the second floor of the library at UNC Charlotte when a gunman opened fire on a classroom in the adjacent Kennedy Building on April 30, 2019. She became aware of the incident when the active shooter alarm was issued. Ms. Ladner describes how she and Anne Moore, the Dean of the Library whose office was close by, sheltered together in Ms. Ladner's office, taking cover under her desk. She discusses using the LiveSafe application on her phone to communicate with campus police, noting that she felt there needed to be more information for people in lockdown. Without this information Ms. Ladner and Dean Moore experienced significant trauma during the period when the library was released from lockdown by police. She describes how she and Dean Moore heard doors being smashed, not knowing whether their lives were in danger. She notes her relief on seeing the police as they knocked down her door, and her feelings of gratitude for their courage. She reflects that despite the incident she still feels relatively safe on campus, that she and Dean Moore have not discussed the experience since, and that she has avoided focusing on the experience. She notes that she feels mostly gratitude for the safety officers, police, and first responders who took charge of the situation. The interviews concludes with a discussion of the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Cade Lee oral history interview, 2020 May 27
Cade Lee shares his experience as a student and activist at UNC Charlotte on April 30th, 2019, when a former student opened fire on a classroom killing two students and injuring four others. Months before the tragedy, Mr. Lee founded the UNC Charlotte chapter of March for Our Lives, a group committed to ending gun violence. He was on his way to Raleigh, North Carolina to participate in a teacher's march when he heard about the incident on campus. In the days that followed he worked with Charlotte's chapter of the NAACP to hold a rally and vigil to honor their fallen classmates and make a statement to local leaders to act to prevent further gun related violence. Mr. Lee discusses his activism in the Charlotte Community and his run for County Commissioner of District three in Mecklenburg County. He notes the need for young people to be involved in local politics to promote change.
Erica Lennon oral history interview, 2020 May 11
Erica Lennon, Assistant Director for Outreach in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at UNC Charlotte, discusses her experience on April 30th, 2019 and CAPS' role in providing psychological services for students. Ms. Lennon recalls where she was when she received a phone call from her partner alerting her that there was a possible active shooter on the campus. She remembers her actions over the next twenty-four hours as she checked on the safety of colleagues and coordinated counselors stationed in the student union. Over the next week, CAPS revamped outreach and clinical services, offering 30 minute spaces for crisis appointments, and made themselves available at the vigil on May 1st for students seeking support. Ms. Lennon speaks to the impact of student counseling services and working through issues of anxiety, trauma and avoidance of certain spaces on campus. She also speaks to her experience responding in a crisis and her belief that the tragedy on campus has increased awareness in mental health and mental health services at UNC Charlotte.
Janet Levy oral history interview, 2021 November 15
Dr. Janet Levy, UNC Charlotte professor emeritus and founding chair of the Department of Anthropology discusses her role and experiences as a member of the Niner Nation Remembrance Memorial Jury and Advisory Group that met in 2020 and 2021 to help select the winning design for the April 30th memorial. [All times approximate]. [00:00] Introductions. [01:33] Dr. Levy describes how she was approached by Chancellor Dubois to serve on the Memorial Advisory Group and how the COVID 19 pandemic delayed the process. [03:00] She briefly describes her background, her route to becoming a professor at UNC Charlotte, and circumstances that led to her staying in Charlotte to finish her career. [07:49] She describes the reasons why the Department of Sociology and Anthropology were divided into two departments and why she was drawn to the discipline of archaeology. {10:27] Dr. Levy relates her personal experience in relation to the events of the April 30th campus shooting, how she heard about the event and her realization that she had a personal connection to lecturer Adam Johnson who was the professor in the classroom where the shooting occurred. She also describes how she had a connection to the room itself through a colleague who had worked to establish appropriate classes suited to the innovative space. She reflects on her reactions to the event. [21:14] She discusses the dilemma of what to do with the Kennedy building where the shooting took place. She describes the delay in proceeding with the Memorial Jury and Advisory Group, which did not begin to meet until November 2020. [27:45] She reflects on the nature of the two groups and how they worked together but in different capacities, with the jury consisting of people with artistic and architectural backgrounds and the advisory board representing the university and the community. She reflects on how the groups always met together and how the virtual zoom platform facilitated the meetings. [31:35] She describes the process of reviewing the submitted designs, noting that a second revised call for proposals was sent out after the first round had insufficient response. She describes how the committees assessed thirty six proposals to establish a shortlist of four designs. [49:24] She relates her thoughts about the winning design by TEN x TEN and she notes that reactions to the memorial will change with time. She reflects on her role on the advisory board as mostly representing the longer view and understanding of campus history and culture. [57:01] She addresses the shifting time frame of the construction of the memorial. She speculates that over time the memorial might be moved as campus changes and the core of the campus shifts. [1:02:50] She concludes the interview reflecting on the purpose of memorials and their limited ability to cause change. She reflects again on the impact of the pandemic and the benefit of being able to meet virtually.
Joan Lorden oral history interview, 2019 December 17
UNC Charlotte Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Joan Lorden, recalls her experience of the tragic events of April 30, 2019. Dr. Lorden notes that she was on campus in her office discussing University business with Chief of Staff Kim Bradley when the campus-wide alerts began. She remembers that shortly thereafter she saw scores of police officers running between the Reese and Colvard buildings toward the general direction of the J. Murrey Atkins Library, and that this was followed by hundreds of students with their hands in the air moving in the opposite direction away from campus. Dr. Lorden describes leaving her office in Reese and proceeding to the Emergency Operation Center in the Facilities Management/Police and Public Safety Building where she met with Kim Bradley and Vice Chancellor for Institutional Integrity and General Counsel, James S. ("Jesh") Humphrey, noting that this is when she found out there had been injuries. The three administrators then coordinated communication responsibilities and the provision of information to the public. Dr. Lorden also discusses the next steps taken, which included the rescheduling of exams and commencement ceremonies, and the organization of a student vigil for the victims. In conclusion she discusses the impact of the shooting on the campus community, its legacy, and her thoughts on the best way to memorialize it.
Emily Gunzburger Makas oral history interview, 2020 June 5
Emily Makas, Associate Director, Director of Urban design, and Associate Professor of Urban and Architectural History in the College of Arts and Architecture at UNC Charlotte, shares her account of April 30th 2019 and her contributions to the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission as the chair of the sub committee on a permanent physical memorial. Ms. Makas was at home when she received the Niner active shooter alert and remembers checking on her colleagues and students, knowing there were around 100 students still in the Fabrication lab in her building. She recalls her visceral reaction to the shooting and the need she felt to stand in front of the Kennedy building days after the incident. She attended the March for our Lives rally organized by students three days after the shootings and speaks to how she addressed her classes on the first day of the fall 2019 semester. She was asked to be part of the Chancellor's Remembrance Commission because her research focuses on conflict and memory in the built environment. She speaks about the work done by the Commission and the different groups engaged in the planning for a physical memorial. Ms. Makas concludes by discussing how she and her colleagues noticed that the community turns to the arts during times of tragedy and how impactful that is.
Nikolai Mather oral history interview, 2019 November 15
Nikolai Mather shares his experience as a student and journalist at UNC Charlotte on April 30, 2019, when a former student opened fire on a classroom, killing two students and injuring four others. He recounts his decision to leave his dorm lockdown in order to report on the deadly event as it was unfolding. Nikolai discusses the actions he took to report on the shooting and his collaboration with fellow Niner Times student journalists and local and national reporters and photojournalists. He shares what it was like to grow up doing active shooter drills and how that shaped his reaction to the event at UNC Charlotte. He also shares how the increased police presence on campus was unsettling for him and many of their LGBTQ, Black and Latino friends. Nikolai recounts what it was like to attend the May 1 vigil in Halton Arena. He also describes an off-campus shooting on May 1, 2019, in which one person was killed and the March for our Lives rally which occurred on campus in the days after the shooting. Throughout the interview Nikolai shares his approach to reporting on the tragedy with empathy, respect, and sensitivity and describes how his experience as a student of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies affects his personal approach to journalism. Finally, Nikolai discusses personal and collective post-traumatic stress, describes the trauma he felt interviewing eyewitnesses and survivors for the newspaper, and reflects on the impact that the shooting has had on his own personal sense of safety on campus.
Brook Muller oral history interview, 2022 January 13
Brook Muller assumed his position as the Dean of the College of Arts and Architecture at UNC Charlotte in the fall of 2019. Shortly after his arrival he was invited by Chancellor Dubois to chair the Niner Nation Remembrance Memorial Jury and Advisory Group that met in 2020 and 2021 to facilitate the selection of the winning design for the April 30th remembrance memorial. [All times approximate]. [00:00] Introductions and reflections about Mr. Muller's path to UNC Charlotte and his focus as an architect on environmental concerns, in particular the interaction of water and the built environment. [05:10] Mr. Muller discusses his personal experience as a distant but invested observer of the April 30th campus shooting and the role of art in healing trauma. [08:54] He describes his experience as a newcomer to UNC Charlotte in the fall of 2019, his awareness of a community fabric that was frayed but strong, and his thoughts about the need to create more outdoor gathering spaces on campus to bring the community together. [14:10] He reflects on the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the performing arts, the disappointment of derailed plans for remembrance events in the spring of 2020, and the ingenuity of faculty in adapting to teaching remotely. [16:54] Mr. Muller recalls how the Memorial Jury and Advisory Group was formed to facilitate the selection of a permanent memorial in front of the Kennedy building to remember, mourn, and confirm the bonds of the campus community. He details the diverse makeup of the group, which included leaders in Charlotte's art and culture community. He outlines the process by which they selected the winning design. [22:50] He discusses the various elements of design that were considered by the Jury and Advisory Committee. These included an iconic element as part of an artful landscape that would create a quiet space to entice lingering and reflecting on a personal and community level. The overall design was also required to embody meaning beyond memories of April 30th. [28:30] He describes how the committees worked towards consensus in selecting four finalists out of the thirty six entries, and why they chose the winning design by the team Ten X Ten Landscape Architecture and Urbanism, Hypersonic Collaborative, and Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture. [35:48] Mr. Muller outlines his continued service on an Advisory Committee to steer the memorial from the initial design to completion. He describes his vision of the finished memorial and the symbolism of its design elements, including hardscape and landscape. [44:12] He reflects on the history of the memorial site as a traditional gathering space on campus where earlier structures created a focus, and its proximity to a recently erected fountain. [49:20] He discusses his thoughts about the fate of the Kennedy building, the importance of not tearing it down, and the dialogue between the memorial landscape and the canopy of Kennedy. Final reflections follow reiterating his admiration for the work of the Jury and Advisory team and the depth of meaning the project carried for all involved.
Margaret Murphy oral history interview, 2020 July 30
Margaret Murphy, a UNC Charlotte rising junior, university chapter Director for March For Our Lives, (MFOL) and Co-Director for North Carolina MFOL, discusses her experiences related to April 30, 2019 when a gunman opened fire in a classroom on the UNC Charlotte campus. Ms. Murphy was visiting a friend at Elon College when the incident occurred and she relays her emotional reaction to the 49er alert message, "Run, Hide, Fight" that first informed her of the crisis unfolding on campus and which she felt was triggering rather than helpful. Ms. Murphy reflects on the impact of many years of lock down drills she experienced while in grade school, and she describes how she first became involved with MFOL as a junior in high school. Inspired by activists who were in her own generation, Ms. Murphy organized a MFOL group at her high school to participate in the national March for Our Lives demonstration of March 2018. Ms. Murphy describes how in her freshman year at UNC Charlotte she joined the nascent MFOL student organization that was founded by Cade Lee in March 2019, and how she took on the role of Outreach Coordinator. Immediately following the April 30 shooting members of the organization and supporters gathered to plan a rally for Friday May 3rd. Working for two days almost round the clock the organizing group, which consisted of about ten individuals, were able to assemble an impressive line-up of speakers representing UNC Charlotte constituents and local, regional, and national elected officials. In addition to Ms. Murphy herself, speakers included student survivor Megan Beach; Student Body President Kristine Slade; Mecklenburg County Commissioner and UNC Charlotte professor, Susan Harden; Charlotte City Council Member-at-Large Dimple Ajmera; Charlotte City Council Member-at-Large Braxton Winston; North Carolina State Senator for District 40, Joyce Waddell; Director of the UNC Charlotte Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies, Dr. John Cox; and Congresswoman for the 12th District of North Carolina, Representative Alma Adams. Ms. Murphy notes that the organizing committee were disappointed that Charlotte's Mayor Vi Lyles declined to communicate with the group. Following the rally she and several other members of MFOL travelled to uptown Charlotte to take part in a NAACP rally also calling for gun control. She reflects on the effective organization of this rally, which brought into focus wider community issues around gun control and the disproportionate impact of gun violence on black and brown communities. Ms. Murphy concludes the interview with reflections on how she has come to see gun violence as a highly complex and dynamic issue that is affected by many other societal issues, including affordable housing, unequal job opportunities, and homelessness. She also summarizes her plans for the upcoming semester as the Director of the UNC Charlotte MFOL chapter, stressing an intention to connect with other social justice groups on campus to offer a platform for working on and giving a voice to intersectional issues.
Tonderai Mushipe oral history interview, 2020 August 21
Tonderai Mushipe, PhD student in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte, discusses his experiences in relation to April 30 2019 when a gunman opened fire on a classroom of students on campus. Mr. Mushipe describes how he had already left campus when the incident occurred and that he became aware of the tragedy as it unfolded on the media and especially through social media. He relates how his role as the incoming President of UNC Charlotte's Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) put him in a position of responding to and coordinating graduate student requests for action following the event. These requests ranged from the desire to take a stand on gun violence to gathering and disseminating information about support services on campus. Since his official role precluded what might be interpreted as political action, Mr. Mushipe focused attention on communication about available psychological and other support services on campus. He comments on the remarkable overnight organization of a vigil held in the Halton Arena on May 1, seeing the outpouring of compassion and solidarity as an indication of resilience in the student body. He relates that he felt Chancellor Dubois acted promptly to establish a Remembrance Commission and describes how he was selected to serve, and the honor he felt in taking on this responsibility. Mr. Mushipe became a member of the Commission's Engagement Committee, which was tasked with collecting information from various stakeholders, starting with the families of Reed Parlier and Riley Howell and other student victims of the shooting, and broadening out to the wider campus and local community. He describes the various ways that the committee reached out for input, including a tabling presence on campus which drew many student responses, an online survey which garnered 4,500 responses, and listening sessions held on the main campus and at the Center City building. He also describes the process by which the various committees shared their findings and came to a consensus in their final report outlining next steps on how to memorialize victims and commemorate the event in a way that would best reflect the desires and ideas expressed by stakeholders. In concluding Mr. Mushipe reflects on the broader effects of the tragedy for the campus community.
Brian Peck oral history interview, 2021 December 20
Brian Peck, Director of Development in the College of Computing and Informatics and the School of Data Science at UNC Charlotte discusses his close involvement with and support for the Parlier and Howell families on behalf of the University following the campus shootings of April 30 2019. [All times approximate]. [00:00] Introductions and reflections on Mr. Peck's path to his position in Advancement at UNC Charlotte. [07:30] Mr. Peck describes his personal experiences on April 30 2019 and his heightened communications with family, friends, and work colleagues following news of the campus shooting. [17:33] He reflects on campus events following the shooting and how he was asked to interface with and support the Parlier and Howell families in concert with Brenda Shue and Mark Colone. He reflects on his dedication to service, his empathetic nature, and how he felt honored to be able to support the families. [28:00] He recounts the extreme difficulty for the Parlier and Howell families in negotiating the Commencement ceremony just ten days after the shooting. He describes how the University facilitated an intimate meeting between the Howell and Parlier families to allow them time to mourn and grieve together in privacy. He stresses the grace, strength, and determination of both families. [36:47] He describes how the families were taken to see and select from the archived mementos left on campus to honor and commemorate Reed and Riley, and he describes a short video he had created for the families. [44:50] Mr. Peck discusses long term positive outcomes from the tragedy, with the creation of scholarships to honor and remember Reed and Riley that were supported by thousands of people. [49:00] He discusses his continuing connections to the Parlier and Howell families, reflects on the plans for a Remembrance Memorial, and on the different ways that families mourn. He concludes with a story about the significance of butterflies to the Parlier family in commemorating Reed's spirit.
Drew Pescaro oral history interview 1, 2020 November 19
WARNING: This interview contains a first hand account of a mass shooting beginning at 27:42 and ending at 01:01:29. Drew Pescaro, one of six victims of the April 30 mass shooting at UNC Charlotte, describes his life before the shooting and his experiences on the day of the shooting. Mr. Pescaro, a senior student in Organizational Communications at UNC Charlotte at the time of the interview, outlines his early life and his passion for sports, which motivated him to study at UNC Charlotte where he could be close to major sports industries and work opportunities. He describes his engagement in various school clubs, and his significant involvement as a founding member of a new fraternity at UNC Charlotte, Alpha Tau Omega. Mr. Pescaro also discusses how he came to identify his feelings of anxiety in his sophomore year, his decision to get a dog as a support animal, and how subsequently his dog, Lilly, helped him to establish routines and to combat his anxiety. He summarizes how the Spring semester of 2019 had been very positive for him and his anticipation for the end of the school year. During the second half of the interview Mr. Pescaro details events that unfolded in Kennedy 236, where his last class of the year took place in the late afternoon of April 30. Shortly after the class got underway with final presentations Mr. Pescaro observed the shooter enter the room and retrieve his handgun. He describes his own state of shock before realizing that he and others around him who were closest to the shooter had been shot, the chaos that ensued in the room as terrified students fled, the dream-like reality of the horrific event as he laid in pain on the floor, and his thought processes as he tried to understand what was happening when the shooter put down his gun and proceeded to also lay on the floor. Since Mr. Pescaro's serious injuries prevented him from leaving the room without significant help, he urged the other students who remained in the room to leave without him. He was then alone in the room with victims Reed Parlier and Riley Howell and the shooter, and he focused on staying conscious until first responders arrived. He relays his memories of what the shooter said during this time, the arrival of the first police officer and ROTC student to the scene who helped to keep him awake, and then other police who were able to give attention to his wounds and lift him into a police car which took him to the University City Atrium Hospital. Mr. Pescaro concludes the interview describing how he was transferred to Atrium's main hospital and sent immediately into an approximately six-hour surgery.
Drew Pescaro oral history interview 2, 2020 December 10
In this second of two interviews, Drew Pescaro, one of six victims of the April 30 mass shooting at UNC Charlotte, describes his short and long term recovery after the shooting, and the impacts that the event has had on his life. Mr. Pescaro details his grueling twenty-seven day hospitalization, remarking on the significant support he felt from his family, his church (Elevation Church), his friends and fellow victims, members of the UNC Charlotte community including Chancellor Dubois, Dean of Students Christine Davis, and football coach Will Healey, and prominent sports figures who came to visit him. He describes the contrast between the serious health challenges he faced following his surgery and the joy of meeting his sports idol Tim Tebow of the New York Mets (both remotely and in person), in addition to visits from Charlotte Panthers' players Jonathan Stewart, D.J. Moore, and Chris Hogan, and also from Larry Ogunjobi of the Cleveland Browns. Mr. Pescaro expresses his deep gratitude for support that he and his family received when his hospital bills were unexpectedly fully paid, and when his remaining two years of college were financed by the Charlotte Hornets. He also describes his feelings of survivor guilt as he processed the shooting event emotionally and intellectually and his need to connect and process with others who had also experienced the event. His harrowing experience in the classroom necessitated Mr. Pescaro to relay details of the attack to the media on numerous occasions, a responsibility which he took seriously, but which also left him feeling that he and other victims were abandoned once public interest had moved on. This feeling of disconnect was particularly strong on returning to campus for the fall semester of 2019 and he recalls significant difficulties in adjusting back to campus life. In reflecting on how April 30 has affected his life long term he describes how his initial impetus to use his voice as a platform for change has matured following the perplexing experience of addressing the North Carolina General Assembly to urge the need for open and nonpartisan discussion about violent crimes. On realizing that his intent was misperceived as partisan and that polarization around the issue of gun control was preventing discussion, he decided to turn instead to advocating directly for victims of violent crimes, who face considerable psychological and physical anguish and financial burden through no fault of their own. Mr. Pescaro concludes the interview with reflections on how he would like to see April 30 remembered, but also the realization that the students who experienced the direct effects of the event will soon have all graduated.