GREENSBORO — Students at UNCG and N.C. A&T held vigils Wednesday night to mourn two students slain and four others wounded at another UNC school just down the highway.
At both local universities, students gathered outside their campus centers to remember the victims of Tuesday’s violence at UNC-Charlotte. At both ceremonies there were moments of silence for the victims and readings of the names of those killed and wounded. At the same time in Charlotte, the UNCC community gathered in the campus basketball arena to hold a vigil of their own.
Though UNCC and the two Greensboro schools are in different area codes, the three state universities have much in common. Thousands of students from Charlotte attend A&T and UNCG, and students and employees at both Greensboro schools have friends, high school classmates and colleagues at the Charlotte campus.
“The devastation hits so close to home,” UNCG Provost Dana Dunn said as she read a statement from Chancellor Frank Gilliam, who was traveling and couldn’t attend the vigil.
“When violence comes to a college campus so much like ours, it affects us in a profound way,” Gilliam’s statement continued. “A college campus is a beautiful place. … When this ideal is shattered … it shakes us to our core.”
Jennifer Whitley, director of UNCG’s counseling center, reminded students to seek help if they feel fearful or anxious in the days and weeks ahead. Fatigue, headaches and trouble concentrating can be normal reactions to such a traumatic and abnormal event.
Despite the frequencies of shootings and other violent events on college campuses, Whitley added, what happened Tuesday at UNCC "is not normal.”
Samaya Roary, a UNCG senior from Charlotte, sent “love and light” to the Niners down in Charlotte. (The school’s sports nickname is the 49ers.) She had the crowd hold up four fingers — for Charlotte’s 704 area code — to show UNCG’s solidarity with its fellow UNC System school.
Roary, the university’s Student Government Association president for the 2018-19 school year, reminded other UNCG students to take care of themselves.
“It’s not weak or wrong to feel the feelings you are feeling,” she said. “You do not have to process this alone.”