With exams canceled, UNC Charlotte graduation will go on as scheduled after deadly campus shooting

Updated: May. 2, 2019 at 3:31 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The UNC Charlotte community is working to find its new normal as the city mourns the loss of two lives taken in an on-campus shooting Tuesday evening.

Exams scheduled for this week were canceled after police say 22-year-old Trystan Terrell opened fire, killing 21-year-old Riley C. Howell and 19-year-old Ellis R. Parlier, and injuring 20-year-old Rami Alramadhan, 20-year-old Sean Dehart, 23-year-old Emily Houpt, and 19-year-old Drew Pescaro.

University operations resumed normal scheduled at 12 a.m. Thursday.

“And what that means on a practical level is that employees will report for work in the morning,” UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois said, “and we’ll have operations as we would on any given day.”

Exams will remain canceled through Sunday.

“We are simply not going to have exams,” Dubois said. “This is still pretty raw, pretty emotional."

Tuesday was the last day of class and Friday would have been a reading day.

Students were informed of exam schedules through email, with two options:

  • Option 1: You may forgo taking the final exam in any of your courses and accept your current course grade as your final grade.
  • Option 2: You may take your final exam and have that grade included in your final course grade.

The email from Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Joan Lorden states students who choose to forgo taking the final exam do not need to contact their instructor.

Exams that were scheduled for May 2-4 will be rescheduled for next week (as optional exams),” the email reads. “Exams originally scheduled between May 6-9 will be held at the same time and location as originally scheduled.”

Dubois said he is allowing students and staff “maximum flexibility” during this time of healing.

Students planning to graduate next week will not need to have their exams finalized before walking across the stage.

“We will worry about certifying degrees later,” Dubois said, commenting that those who wish to walk “will walk,” including shooting victim Emily Houpt, who is receiving a degree. “We’re delighted she’ll be there to go across the stage,” Dubois said.

The chancellor says faculty approved degrees in memoriam for shooting victims Riley and Reed.

“Thursday at 4 o’clock we’ll have the doctoral hooding ceremony. Friday at 1 o’clock we’ll have the first of three ceremonies for undergraduate and masters students. And then Saturday we have two ceremonies at 10 and 3 o’clock, those will go on as scheduled,” Dubois said of commencement activities scheduled for next week.

The commencement for Friday, May 10, may be moved from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday commencement will go on as scheduled.

CLICK HERE FOR COMMENCEMENT DETAILS

The chancellor spent time visiting with victims Houpt, Prescaro, and Alramadhan, and said Wednesday that the students and their families are doing “OK.”

“I did not get a chance to talk to Sean Dehart he had also been released yesterday," Dubois said.

A Wednesday night vigil in UNC Charlotte’s Halton Arena honored the shooting victims.

“Words cannot adequately express the heartbreak we feel over yesterday’s tragic events, nor can they describe the selfless, overwhelming support you have provided. Even in the midst of UNC Charlotte’s darkest day, our greatest strength--our ability to unify with one heart and a common purpose--shines clearly through,” a message from Dubois read.

“In that spirit of unity, I would ask that you join me in turning our hearts and minds to the families of the two members of our community who lost their lives," Dubois continued. Some of us knew these young men as our students, our classmates, our friends, our family, our sons. For all of us, they were fellow members of Niner Nation, and we will learn and forever remember their names and their legacy.”

The following support services are available to members of the University community, the university posted online:

  • Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) -- CAPS will be open to serve students beginning at 8 a.m. The Price Center is located next to the Student Health Center on 9502 Poplar Terrace. After-hours phone counselors are available by calling 704-687-0311.
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) -- Employees who need support should contact the EAP at 1-877-603-8259. Onsite support is available in King 201A and 201B. Additional information is available on the HR website or by contacting Cindy Edwards at ckedwards@uncc.edu or 704-687-0658.

“Support services to assist those affected by the events of April 30 will continue as the University community unites to move forward,” the university posted.

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