The University and surrounding community experienced a tragedy on Feb. 10, 2015 when three Muslim American students were shot and killed in their Chapel Hill home. Five years later, groups across campus continue to honor the legacies of those lost.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, a UNC dental student, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, an incoming UNC dental student and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, an N.C. State undergraduate student, were shot by Craig Hicks in Barakat's and Yusor's home over an alleged parking dispute.
Hicks was convicted of the murders and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, and Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue acknowledged the murders as a hate crime in 2019.
To commemorate the lives of the students, the UNC School of Dentistry closes the school for one day in September or October each year to encourage students to engage in service initiatives around the community. The event is referred to as DEAH DAY, which stands for Directing Efforts And Honoring Deah And Yusor.
“Deah was incredibly active in the community," said Tiffany Brannan, the School of Dentistry’s chief communications and marketing officer. "They were out there feeding the homeless. They were out there taking care of the whole person, not just the mouth."