"I was asked to use my wheelchair to barricade an unlockable door in the class I was in. We deserve to feel somewhat safe in our classrooms and lecture halls. Locks are the bare minimum," UNC senior Sarah Ferguson said in a comment on a student-led petition.
The petition was created by first-year Violet Johnston two days after the Aug. 28 campus shooting and is titled “Add Locks to UNC Educational Buildings and Better Threat Response Plan.”
As of Sept. 18, it has amassed over 2,250 signatures.
“Our original goal was 500 signatures,” Johnston said. “And we reached that goal in a matter of minutes on the first morning the petition was released.”
The petition includes four safety demands: locks on all classrooms and educational buildings, Alert Carolina messages available in Spanish, regular lockdown drills and a threat response plan and emergency training for students and faculty.
Johnston is part of a group of first-year students demanding better safety and mental health protocols at UNC. The same group is responsible for organizing a vigil honoring Professor Zijie Yan, the professor killed in the Aug. 28 shooting. The event was held outside the Student Union and had hundreds of students in attendance.
Though yet to be recognized as an official student organization, the group of students have been actively communicating their demands through social media, posters and collaboration with The UNC Workers Union. The union endorsed the petition, which led to an additional 500 signatures.
The first-years presented their petition to the Chancellor’s Office on Sept. 1, and Raife Levy, a first-year and member of the student group, said they plan to present a second time with more signatures and endorsements.
Johnston said the group recently reached out to March For Our Lives and UNC Young Democrats for their support.