UNC Charlotte students, faculty return to campus with safety changes for new semester

UNC Charlotte students, faculty return to campus with safety changes for new semester

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - UNC Charlotte campus officials have soaked up every moment this summer to get prepared for students and staff returning to campus.

“Prepping has been the big focus of the summer.”

“For some of them this is their first day back on campus since April 30," says Associate Vice Chancellor of Safety & Security, John V. Bogdan.

Preparations have been coming from every angle.

Physical Safety

“As far as staffing we were prepared prior to April 30 and were still prepared. Based on that incident we want to make sure people feel comfortable, especially with policing together in the community,” says Chief of UNCC Police, Jeffrey A. Baker.

That’s why you can expect to see more police on campus for the first few weeks. But not just campus police, local agencies, including Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, too.

Police are also ramping up their presence at big events on campus, just like freshman convocation, held Monday.

“We are reaching out though, with added active shooter training," says Baker.

Active shooter training sessions, or ALICE as UNCC refers to them, have been in high demand over the summer. That’s why safety officials are making that training readily available because they are anticipating larger amounts of people and adding more classes through October. But the training hasn’t been the only thing in high demand, since April.

Emotional Safety

“After the shooting April 30 until after commencement we saw hundreds of students who walked in to use our services within those couple of days," says David Spano, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Director of Counseling at UNCC. "Probably about twice as many as we normally would see during that period of exams.”

Student support and counseling services already saw an influx and are expecting another wave as students start the semester.

“We got a grant from Suntrust, which enabled us to hire another staff member," says Spano.

That means UNCC now has 18 counselors for students.

“One of our major focuses [over the summer] was our faculty and staff. Getting them ready to be back on campus, how to talk to students about what they’re going through and things they might face," says Spano.

Safety posters are also being added to classrooms near the exits and officials are encouraging professors to talk to their students about emergency procedures in the classroom.

“Our priority is obviously safety of students and staff but we want to make sure they feel comfortable," says Baker.

Faculty is offered their own support through the employee assistance program that the university provides.

Evening classes for the 2019-2020 semester start Monday August, 19. Day classes for the semester begin Tuesday August 20.

UNCC begins new school year

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