By Michelle Cassell
CHAPEL HILL- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz is getting critical press from The Daily Tar Heel, and UNC students are circulating a petition for the university to take immediate action to establish clear steps for responding to an active shooter on campus.
Editor-in-Chief Emmy Martin of The Daily Tar Heel published a poster she created from text messages students sent during the incident that claimed Dr. Zijie’s life, prompting a campus lockdown and a shelter-in-place order.
Martin’s poster, printed on the front page of the Daily Tar Heel, was the result of her ordeal and the unanswered texts she was viewing on her phone, according to her social media account on X, formerly known as Twitter. She wanted to share how UNC students visualized gun violence.“We wanted to tell the story of three hours and ten minutes,” she posted. The front page of the Daily Tar Heel went viral and attracted nationwide attention from NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and PBS. Even getting a personal message from President Joe Biden:
“No student, no parent, and no American should have to send texts like these to their loved ones as they hide from a shooter. I’ll continue to do all I can to reduce gun violence and call on Congress to do the same,” President Biden wrote.
A petition is currently being circulated on change.org. The petition was started on Tuesday, August 29, by a student, Micha Baldanao, who witnessed professors continuing course instruction, he says, “…despite receiving alerts about the ongoing threat.” The petition gives three demands to the Chancellor:
To mandate that faculty members receive mandatory training on how to respond during an active shooter situation,
To demand that every classroom be equipped with secure locking mechanisms,
And to demand that the Alert Carolina system be enhanced with more precise information and clarity.
As of today’s writing on September 1, there are 865 signatures.
Delaney Young, a UNC student signing the petition, wrote, “As a UNC student who sat in a lecture hall with a door that didn’t lock, it is vital that UNC changes their procedures and training for events such as these.”
Ella Williams writes, “There were no locks on some doors. Professors didn’t know what to do. Sirens were too quiet. We were not in full lockdown. These things could have cost lives.”
Devon C, wrote, “My professor, too, kept teaching and even continued to open the door.”
Frances Schaefer, a UNC alumni, wrote, “… I am heartbroken by this tragedy and wholeheartedly support better building and campus security … I will forward it [the petition] to folks I know here that will sign as well as alumni friends I have in many other places.”
UNC media was asked to respond, but as of press time today, they had not answered. If they do, we will add it to this article.
Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news.