Members of the UNC Board of Trustees discussed faculty hiring for the School of Civic Life and Leadership, plans to install license plate readers to improve campus safety and new community operations at their Thursday meeting at the Carolina Inn.
- College of Arts and Sciences dean Jim White provided updates on the search for faculty for the School of Civic Life and Leadership.
- On Jan. 26, the board unanimously voted to endorse the school, which will aim to promote democracy and benefit society.
- White said applications sent to UNC's "core faculty" to become a SCiLL faculty member were due on Aug. 31. He added that the inaugural faculty will be announced in the coming weeks.
- Faculty members will be responsible for outlining the goals of the school and providing thoughts on its curriculum, White also said.
- Christopher Everett, the student body president for the 2023-2024 academic year and ex-officio member of the board, spoke on the importance of creating a safer campus after the lockdowns on Aug. 28 and Sept. 13.
- Everett said he spoke directly with students about their feelings and experiences after the two on-campus lockdowns and hopes to share their responses to the board.
- He said organizations and students need to feel safe and represented on campus, including the Muslim Student Association advocating for a place to practice their faith, students of Asian American studies and graduate students.
- In his role, Everett said conversations about how to create equitable opportunities for students of different cultures and identities are important.
- “Carolina has brought together such a wide and diverse array of folks from across this globe, and each of us deserve to have our individual needs met,” he said.
- Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz highlighted the accomplishments the University has achieved recently, although he noted that the past two months have also been filled with "difficult challenges."
- Guskiewicz announced that the Innovate Carolina Junction, a creative workspace for community members, celebrated its opening on Wednesday.
- “We want our faculty, with their innovative research, to partner with entrepreneurs to bring their ideas quickly to market,” he said.
- He also said the University welcomed the largest undergraduate class in its history — 5,600 undergraduate students were admitted into the University. That number includes more than 4,700 first-year students and more than 900 transfer students.
- Guskiewicz highlighted that UNC ranked No. 4 in public universities and No. 22 overall according to the U.S. News & World Report.
- Guskiewicz thanked the N.C. General Assembly for providing a budget that helps the University invest in infrastructure, research and the computer science program.
- “There will be a great return on investment on this funding around computer science and data science as it will address the workforce demands that North Carolina is currently experiencing as one of the fastest growing states in the nation, and it will ultimately help drive our state’s economy,” he said.
- UNC Police Chief Brian James and director of Emergency Management and Planning Darrell Jeter reflected on the campus response to the Aug. 28 shooting and discussed improvements.
- James said in 2021, law enforcement officers were required to attend a course on how to respond to an active shooter situation and that officers were prepared for the shooting. They also conducted a "full-scale active shooter exercise" with UNC Police and UNC Hospital Police.
- The department also went through an emergency plan refresher in 2022 taught by Jeter and his team. James noted police also went over their "Active Shooter Response" in their annual firearms training last year.
- In June, James said UNC Police and hospital police simulated an active shooter situation in an empty academic building, a training that James said he thought benefitted police response during the Aug. 28 incident.
- Law enforcement officers will become more familiar with the campus layout and work on consolidating camera systems to improve emergency operations, James said.
- James noted that the weapon used in the Aug. 28 shooting has still not been located. He noted that police thoroughly searched campus for the weapon before lifting the lockdown.
- The University is also looking to install license plate readers with Flock Safety, a privately owned company, he said. He noted a number of campus partners already work with Flock Safety.
- Jeter provided data on emergency coordination and calls received by the Emergency Operations Center after the shooting.
- He said staff of the center prioritized sending out information to the community in a "timely fashion" regarding the incident.
- Jeter noted that the center received more than 200 calls to its incident hotline following the events of Aug. 28. He also said about 50 percent of callers to the center's incident hotline were parents.
- "They were reaching out to voice various concerns regarding the incidents and the well-being of their student," Jeter said.
- The Carolina Ready Safety App – a program that sends emergency alerts and tips on campus safety – saw a 45 percent increase in downloads in the weeks following the shooting, he said.
- “We were pleased to see our campus community’s interest and response to make sure that they have access to resources,” he said.
The BOT will meet again on Nov. 8 and 9.