Nick Cropper

Nick Cropper is the News Editor for the Niner Times. Currently, he is a senior pursuing a major in PR and a minor in journalism. Although he has lived in Charlotte for close to four years now, he is originally from Maryland. Contact him at for questions or if you want to pitch a potential story.

Police officer responsible for shooting Keith Lamont Scott not charged, peaceful protests ensue

Demonstrators took to the streets of Uptown Charlotte once again Wednesday night after the news that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) Officer Brentley Vinson would not be charged for the shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott.

Scott was shot and killed Sept. 20. According to the officers involved in the shooting, when they arrived on scene, Scott exited his vehicle with a gun in his hand. Despite multiple commands from the officers to drop the weapon, Scott refused. He was eventually shot by Vinson.

Scott was later transported to the Carolina’s Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

According to Mecklenburg District Attorney Murray, Scott’s DNA was found on the weapon that was recovered from the scene. Murray made a statement earlier in the day revealing that the two-month long investigation found that Vinson’s shooting of Scott was not unlawful and that he would not be charged.

“Everyone who has seen the video of the incident can feel the tension in that situation,” Murray said in his official statement.

Contrary to official police reports, eye-witnesses, including Scott’s wife, believed that he was unarmed.

This news led to the peaceful protests that took place in Uptown the same night. The protest remained mostly peaceful Wednesday as protesters marched throughout Uptown. There were; however, some incidents of violence between officers and demonstrators.

The protest started at EpiCentre and moved to the Transit Center. Protesters also made their way to CMPD headquarters.

Protesters were demanding answers behind the decision to not charge Vinson and called for more transparency. They also demanded answers in the shooting of Justin Carr, a protester who was shot and killed in Uptown during the protests in September.  Many believe that Carr was shot by a police officer.


Campus Safety Walk reveals safety hazards

Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor.
Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor.

The members behind the annual Campus Safety Initiative has completed their report of potential safety hazards on campus after the Campus Safety Walk that occurred Nov. 10.

During these walks, volunteers, along with Campus Police, patrol areas of campus and report any incidents of what they deem to be unsafe or make recommendations on how safety in these areas could be improved.

“The SGA believes in providing a safe and accessible campus community in which our students can navigate across campus at any given time of the day, without uncertainty of their safety,” said Secretary for Student Affairs Reginald Cobbins. The secretary for student affairs is responsible for organizing the Campus Safety Walk every year.

This year, there were 90 participants in the Campus Safety Walk. Members of the student senate at UNC Charlotte volunteer every year, along with student, staff and faculty volunteers. The volunteers work with Campus Police to patrol these areas. Volunteers were split into groups and patrolled nine different zones on campus for safety hazards.

Many volunteers found similar issues in their respective zones: either lights were out or areas were dark. According to Cobbins, light outages and dark areas on campus are a reoccurring issue found during the annual Campus Safety Walks.

“Last year it seemed as if the lights were a big issue as well. Facilities management did correct a lot of those issues, including adding lights to dim areas on campus,” he said.

Volunteers also found that some of the same lights that were out last year were out again and they uncovered new poorly lit areas on campus.

In addition to reporting findings, volunteers can also make recommendations for areas on campus that would improve safety. The volunteers who patrolled the Botanical Garden noticed that it was dark and could use lights. They also recommended adding a blue light at the front of the gardens.

Once all groups have reported their findings to the secretary for student affairs, they recommendations are compiled into the official report with the findings and sent to UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois. The report is also sent UNC Charlotte’s Campus Safety and Security Committee and the office of Facilities Management. Afterwards, the issues should be addressed.

The zones were broken down into the football stadium, the baseball field and CRI Parking lot, the Popp & Martin Student union and several resident halls, North Deck and the surrounding resident halls, Greek Village, the Botanical Gardens along with East Deck and Prospector, Fretwell and the surrounding lecture halls, the Student Activity Center and South Village.

Cato college of education named after alumnus

The Cato College of Education is the third building on UNC Charlotte’s campus to be named thanks to a donation made by the Cato Corporation, led by John Cato who is a alumnus from the class of 1973.

“The UNC Charlotte college of education has a rich past and it now looks forward to an even brighter future thanks to the generosity of the Cato Corporation, led by our alumnus John Cato,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois. “The Cato Corporation and the Cato family have been huge supporters of UNC Charlotte College of Education for many years.”

The naming of the Cato College of Education follows a $5 million gift from the Cato Corp.

The gift was donated to the University’s largest fundraising campaign in its history, EXPONENTIAL: Campaign for UNC Charlotte.

The campaign seeks to raise $200 million to fund the University’s future through student scholarships, enhancements to academic programs and other initiatives to enrich the college experience.

A majority of the gift will be used to fund the Cato Scholarship for Education, which will offer financial assistance to any freshman and transfer student who is seeking a degree offered by the College.

“Education is the key to success and good teachers are the key to education. We’re proud to support the college of education and thrilled that it will now be called the Cato College of Education,” said Cato.

A smaller portion of the gift will go towards recognizing faculty through two different awards that will be presented annually. The Cato Award for Faculty Excellence will first recognize two faculty members in the field of research and two awards will honor professors who show excel in the three areas of teaching, research or community engagement.

“It is truly wonderful to be able to acknowledge the really impressive work of our faculty,” said Ellen McIntyre, dean of the Cato College of Education.

Cato is the chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Cato Corporation, which is based out of Charlotte.

He has served several positions at the University since his graduation. He is a former member of the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board and the UNC Charlotte Board of Visitors. Currently, he serves on the Belk College of Business Advisory Board.

“It is such an honor to have our college named for the Cato Corporation and John Cato, a prominent member of the Charlotte community and a huge supporter of UNC Charlotte,” said the Dean for the Cato College of Education Ellen McIntyre.

Cato was also inducted into the UNC Charlotte Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012.

The other two colleges to bear names on UNC Charlotte’s campus are the William States Lee College of Engineering and the Belk College of Business.

Photo by Allison Tran.
Photo by Allison Tran.

The mystery of the missing tickets

Two years ago, the Student Government Association proposed a bill that would deal with the issue of low attendance at home football games for the 2015 season.

That bill would effectively cut the amount of seats reserved for students in half, reducing it from 8,000 to the current number of 4,500 and giving those seats to the public.

However, this did not entirely solve the problem and hundreds of seats go unfilled in the student section each game. There is no clear answer to the issue of students claiming tickets for games and not using them.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” UNC Charlotte Athletic Director Judy Rose said. “We’d gladly give [the seats] back or provide them if that became a need. Our goal is to fill the stadium, that’s it. Whether it is students in the seat or paying people, we want the atmosphere in here to be as such that nobody wants to come in here and play us.”

There is a discrepancy between tickets that are claimed and tickets that are actually used come game time. During the first four home games this season, an average of 54.6 percent of students who ordered tickets used them. There are still two home games left in the season and there is room for this average to increase or decrease. After the 49ers win against Marshall, Rose hopes that this will encourage more attendance for the final two games.

“We haven’t had the big wins at home for students to see or our other fans … but that is a very big win for our program,” Rose said. “ So will that impact attendance? I’m hoping it will.”

Students cheer during the Homecoming Game against Florida International University. Photo by Chris Crews.
Students cheer during the Homecoming Game against Florida International University. Photo by Chris Crews.

The average percentage of student ticket usage has dropped steadily since the programs first game in 2013. This means that the gap of tickets claimed versus tickets used is only growing wider.

According to statistics kept by 49er Athletics, in 2013, the average ticket usage for the year was 66.9 percent. In 2014, the percentage dropped to 6 percent. In 2015, the average dropped to 56.4 percent. However, the number of tickets used at home games are on the rise from last year’s numbers and the year before that. In 2013, an average of 2,500 tickets were used for each home game, this number grew to 3,059 in 2015 and again to the current average of 3,531 for the current season with two games remaining.

“The number of people that are actually going [to games] is higher than last year on average, so we’re going in the right direction there,” Associate Athletic Director for Ticket and Facility Operations John George said.

The game with the most student attendance of this season was the first home game against Elon. Students claimed well over the 4,000 seat limit, ordering 7,857 tickets, but only 4,648 tickets were actually used. In comparison, the lowest recorded student attendance for the current season was the game against Old Dominion University. Students ordered 4,518 tickets, but only 2,055 were used.

The lowest attended home football game in UNC Charlotte’s young football program was the 2014 game against Coastal Carolina University where only 1,329 students attended the game.

These numbers include student guest tickets as well. Guest tickets are available for a discount and limited. Students can have up to two guest tickets depending on availability.

The first 49er Athletics home game against Campbell in 2013 had the highest recorded student attendance of any game in any season. Of the 7,785 tickets claimed, 5,911 tickets were used equaling 75.9 percent.

Student tickets ordered (solid) versus tickets used (dashes) since the first season. Graphic by Michael Kuhn.
Average number of student tickets ordered (solid) versus tickets used (dashes) per year. Graphic by Michael Kuhn.

“The first year was our absolute best year,” Rose said.

When SGA had originally proposed the Student Seating Allocation bill for the 2015 season, the draft had included a penalty system for students who claimed tickets, but did not use them. However, there is no such system currently being enforced by athletics. This is mainly because the demand for student tickets at football games has not reached a point that would warrant a penalty system be put in place.

“It really comes down to supply and demand as to why the penalty phase hasn’t been implemented,” George said. “Because the demand has not warranted a penalty structure, it really hasn’t been activated.”

Since UNC Charlotte’s first football game in 2013, the demand has never been such that a student would be denied entry to the stadium on game day. However, if a penalty system were to be implemented, this would most likely be the reason why.

“Where a penalty system could come into play is if you get a ticket and don’t use it and this affects another student from getting into the game, that’s where the penalty could be,” George said.

Penalties could be either loyalty points based or there could be a system where if a student has claimed tickets for a game and fails to show on multiple occasions during a season, then they could lose their privileges for the rest of that season.

The NCAA requires that, for televised games, there be a minimum of 15,000 people in attendance. For UNC Charlotte, that means having at least that many students and paying attendants in the 15,300 capacity stadium. Since the student section has only averaged 23.5 percent of the minimum requirement, the rest of the unfilled seats go to the general public.

“Students pay a student fee and we certainly want [students] to be at the games, but if they’re not going to come, then we need to sell those tickets and get people in those seats,” Rose said.

As long as tickets were purchased for at least a third of their full price, then the people who own those tickets do not need to be present at the game for their attendance to count. However, students must be in their seats if they are to count towards the 15,000 attendance minimum. Despite the lack of student attendance, UNC Charlotte does meet the 15,000 requirement.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect the correct policy regarding guest tickets at home football games.

Clinton pushes early voting for UNC Charlotte

Thousands of students and North Carolina residents gathered for a rally in the Belk Plaza to see Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, where she urged attendants to vote early late Sunday afternoon.

Before speaking about her many plans as president, Clinton first took aim at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, mentioning in their third and final debate how Trump refused to answer whether he would respect the results of the election or not, calling it a “direct threat to our democracy.”

“Trump is not like anybody else who has ever run for president. He has demonstrated unequivocally that he is unqualified and unfit to be president and commander and chief of the united states of America,” Clinton said.

Attendants cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the rally at Belk Plaza. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
Attendants cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the rally at Belk Plaza. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

Clinton explained her plan to make public colleges and universities tuition free for families who earn $125,000 or less annually, giving graduates more flexibility to become successful after college and be debt free.

“I consider it an investment in young people, I don’t want people coming out being burdened by debt and having difficulty paying it back,” said Clinton.

She mentioned how she worked on a plan with Senator Bernie Sanders about rewarding people who go into certain public service and national service jobs by alleviating them of most or all of their debt after college. After the primaries, Clinton and Sanders had collaborated on several ideas.

She spoke about several of the other plans she has if she is elected president. She explained how she wants to raise the national minimum wage, create the largest investment in new jobs since World War 2 through infrastructure, high-wage manufacturing and small business, how she wants a new modern electric grid to distribute clean, renewable energy and she wants equal pay for equal women, a policy that she has always been an advocate for.

“If you have a mother, a wife, a daughter or a sister who’s working it’s your issue … it is way past time for women to be paid fairly for the jobs they do,” she said.

Like many supporters, sophomore Keila Nateos believes that Clinton stands for many values that match with hers.

“You can tell that she’s for equality for women, people of color and for every American and just everything she said I agreed with,” said Nateos. “I feel that my values match [the democratic party’s] goals and that’s really the reason why I’m voting.”

Micheal Holbrook is a member of the LGBTQ community and, while he is not a student at UNC Charlotte, he has attended a couple of Clinton’s rallies. He feels that Clinton understand the discrimination that many people face today and oppose laws that would otherwise allow for such behavior.

Clinton meets with supporters during after the rally. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
Clinton meets with supporters during after the rally. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

The more rallies I go to the more I see why I’m supporting her,” Holbrook said. “It’s just an ensuring fact that the woman who I want leading this country, that if one day, if me and my boyfriend are married and we adopt kids … or whatever we do, they look and say ‘you voted for a president who moved forward into a movement that didn’t take us back’.”

Attendants heard from several guest speakers running for positions in local government including Josh Stein, who is running for Attorney General, Linda Coleman, who is running for Lieutenant Governor and UNC Charlotte student Thurston Alexander, who introduced Clinton onto the stage. UNC Charlotte’s Finer Niner a capella group also gave several performances before Clinton came on stage.

Clintons visit to UNC Charlotte and North Carolina is no surprise since North Carolina is considered a battleground state.

Before ending the rally, Clinton gave a final call to action for UNC Charlotte students.

“I am asking you to vote for yourselves as much as I’m asking you to vote for me. I’m asking you to vote for what you care about,” she said.”Please UNC Charlotte, turn out and vote, early vote. Bring your friends, your families. Let’s go out and prove that anything is possible in America,” Clinton said.

Early voting ends Nov. 8. Voting on campus will become available Oct. 27.

Buddy Walk prepares for third year at UNC Charlotte

The 1-mile fun run/walk known as the Buddy Walk is set to return to UNC Charlotte Oct. 22.

Having been held in the Jerry Richardson Stadium for the past two years, the annual Buddy Walk, put on by the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (DSAGC), will return to the football stadium for it’s third year at the University and will take place from 2-6 p.m.

During the event, families set up different tents and walk as teams with their children who have down syndrome. Different families like to name their teams after the child who is affected by Down Syndrome.

Last year, Lariviere had a team set up for her son who was born with Down Syndrome.

There will be bounce houses, arts and crafts and different games to play while waiting for the walk to start. Additionally, there will be more fun to have once the walk finished on the field of Jerry Richardson Stadium.

Each year, the Buddy Walk serves to increase Down Syndrome inclusiveness in the Charlotte community. It is also used as the single largest fundraiser that the DSAGC holds each year.

“People will see an inclusive community. They’ll see kids with down syndrom of all ages out there, just being a part of the group,” said Lariviere.

Similar to last year, many UNC Charlotte organizations are volunteering during the event.

Students involved in Greek life on campus are signed up to volunteer. Members of UNC Charlotte athletics also volunteer during the event and play games with the kids.

“Everybody at UNC Charlotte has been wonderful to work with,” Buddy Walk Executive Director Kathryn Lariviere said.

Last year, the Buddy Walk attracted 3,300 attendees and raised $204,000.

This year, Lariviere hopes attendance will be at least on par with what it was last year, attracting over 3,000 people and hopes that they can raise $225,000. A goal the DSAGC has already started collecting donations for. They have already reached over half that amount.

“It’s more than just about down syndrome, it’s about realizing that everybody is different and benefiting from being with people who have differences,” said Lariviere. “The Buddy Walk is our chance to show that individuals with down syndrome are valued members of the community,”

To donate or to learn more about the event, visit:

Time capsule to capture culture of UNC Charlotte

To kick of UNC Charlotte’s week long celebration of it’s 70 year as an institution, University officials unveiled their time capsule project Sept. 20 at the Belk Plaza.

The time capsule will be placed in the ground once renovations for the Belk Plaza begin and it will be unearthed in 2046, during the University’s centennial celebration.

The idea to have a time capsule buried on campus did not originate from a student organization, committee, Student Government Association (SGA) or any collective group of people who have some level of influence over UNC Charlotte, but from a single freshman who wanted UNC Charlotte to be remembered for how it is today.

Freshman Collin Rubin had emailed UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois about the addition of a time capsule in the University’s 70th anniversary celebration.

Freshman Collin Rubin unveiling the UNC Charlotte time capsule. Photo by Chris Crews.
Freshman Collin Rubin unveiling the UNC Charlotte time capsule. Photo by Chris Crews.

After Rubin’s initial proposal, the project was absorbed by the SGA and a committee of University officials was appointed to oversee the time capsule.

“It honestly feels amazing to know that something this big is staying on campus because of an idea I had,” said Rubin. When he proposed the idea, Rubin included the addition of some Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band memorabilia.

Student Body President Fahn Darkor spoke at the unveiling, noting that the time capsule will be used as a looking glass into what University life was like in 2016.

“The future of UNC Charlotte is exciting and I’m honored to be here. The time capsule will serve as a reminder to those in the year 2046 of what are campus looked like and what our students looked like.”

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois also spoke during the ceremony, sharing a brief history of the University and commenting on some of the logistics of many of the changes that UNC Charlotte has seen in the past 10 years.

“[The time capsule is] something that we could look ahead to in the next 30 years and in 2046, take a look at what people today we’re thinking about the past of this University and the future,” said Dubois during his speech.

There is a limited time for students to submit their own ideas for additions to the time capsule. The form to submit ideas can be found on the SGA’s website. Additionally, the space available in the capsule is limited. Size and whether the item can survive in the ground for 30 years must also be considered.

Several items have already been included in the capsule. These items include, but are not limited to: a Football jersey, first official UNC Charlotte class ring, a list of registered student organizations, pictures of the University and a Goose Feather.

The plaque on the time capsule indicates “The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In honor of its 70 anniversary as an institution. 1946-2016. North Carolina’s Urban Research University. Time capsule dedicated Sept. 20, 2016 to be opened September 2046.”

Members of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees must first approve of the conceptual design plans before renovations on the Belk Plaza can begin. The conceptual plans were first shown during the Belk Plaza Forum in August.

The Board of Trustees will next meet in October and they will be presented with the design plans for the remodeling of the plaza.

Photo by Jenny Chompholphakdy.
Photo by Jenny Chompholphakdy.

Students gather at Student Union in wake of protests, riots

At noon today and again at 2:30 p.m. students dressed in black clothing gathered outside and inside the Student Union in protest of the fatal shooting of Keith Scott, a 43-year-old African American who was killed by police just miles from campus.

The student organization JM Mentoring & Associates began organizing the event soon after the news of Scott’s death was released. Over night, the movement quickly gathered more traction on social media. Many members of the Black Student Union were also present during the movement along with students.

Students cover the Student Union Rotunda during their peaceful protest. Photo by Kathleen Cook.
Students cover the Student Union Rotunda during their peaceful protest. Photo by Kathleen Cook.

As students formed a circle outside the front entrance of the Student Union, JM Mentoring & Associates founder Monae McNeil invited any student to come to the center and speak their mind protests and riots that occurred through Tuesday night into today.

The first student to step into the circle was Student Body President Fahn Darkor. Darkor stressed that, if his fellow students wished to exercise their right to protest, that they be safe while they do so.

“I was sad that my fellow students were out there, they were getting tear gased … if you guys are out there protesting on the front lines, make sure that you are safe,” said Darkor. “We want you to exercise your right to protest.”

Several other students stepped into the opening to speak their minds. Some students continued the theme of staying safe while protesting. Other students wanted to stress the importance of staying educated on the issue; that Scott was killed by an African-American police officer.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois closed with some remarks about campus culture after the events of last night.

Every ounce of me will work to make sure that this is the best possible University for you and that it is the safest possible university for you,” said Dubois. “Please continue what you’re doing. Speak out. Vote. Make sure you’re heard.”

Dubois went on to mention that UNC Charlotte will be continuing it’s diversity initiatives on campus, but students who are invested in the issue will do more than any initiative can. The statements that Dubois made during the protest mirror that of the statement that was released to students Wednesday morning.

Students gathering outside of the Student Union as they organize to protest. Photo by Kathleen Cook.
Students gathering outside of the Student Union as they organize to protest. Photo by Kathleen Cook.

“The fact that you’re here today means more to the environment than anything I could ever do,” said Dubois.

Just hours after the protest in front of the Student Union ended, another protest movement gathered outside, this time organized by the Black Student Union. Students gathered on the back patio to get organized before moving into the Student Union where dozens of students lay on the ground in protest of police brutality. The students lay there mostly quietly. Occasionally, students broke the silence with phrases like “I do this for justice,” and “I do this for peace,” exclaiming why it was that they were protesting.

“I personally feel like it was very important for us as a campus to protest, especially since this was in our backyard. It would be hypocritical of us to support the cause and not do something today … today it felt necessary to have our voice heard,” said student Bri-Anna Lewis. “It changes when you lay on this ground for two hours and look at the ceiling.”

During both events on campus today, the protests remained peaceful and organized.

Another protest at College Downs apartment complex was rumored to begin at 6 p.m. today.

Protests erupt after police officers fatally shoots black man

Photo by...
Protesters gather on Old Concord Road. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

Update 6:06 p.m.: Businesses in Uptown, Charlotte are being encouraged to close early and residents are being advised to lock their doors, city officials warn. Protests are rumored to start in Uptown tonight.

Update 3:45 p.m.: Scott was an alumni of North Carolina A&T State University.

Protests erupt around campus as the aftermath of fatal shooting of an African-American man Tuesday afternoon.

43-year-old African American Keith Scott was shot and killed yesterday afternoon by an African-American police officer, sparking growing protests that lasted well into the early morning today.

Protesters gather on Old Concord Road. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
Protesters gather on Old Concord Road. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

Trash and broken glass littered the streets in the wake of where the protesters had been. Police in riot gear have stretched across Old Concord Road, blocking it off from protesters.

Officers deployed tear gas throughout the night to disperse protesters.

Protesters on Old Concord Road could be heard chanting “stop killing us,” at the police officers.

Some protesters were throwing objects at police officers, but other protesters discouraged the behavior, stating that they wanted to have a peaceful protest and they didn’t want police officers to retaliate.

At 1:45 a.m. protesters walked onto I-85, shutting down the interstate. Protesters on I-85 began looting parked trucks and setting fires on the Interstate.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), officers arrived at the Village at College Downs apartment complex in search of a suspect with an outstanding warrant.

While in search of the suspect, officers noticed Scott, who was armed with a firearm and “posed an immediate threat,” according to a statement made by police.

Scott was transported to the Carolinas Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The officer responsible for shooting Scott has been identified as Officer Brentley Vinson. Vinson is currently on paid administrative lead, following standard procedure, while police investigate the incident, according to a news release.

Photos by Pooja Pasupula.

There are conflicting stories between the victims family and the police reports. While police reports say that Scott was armed and making threats at the officers, the victims sister took to social media claiming that he was waiting in a car for his kids to get off the bus and that he never had a firearm in his possession.

Over the course of the night, 16 officers were injured, several civilians were treated for minor injuries and roughly five arrests were made.

UNC Charlotte welcomes class of 2020

Photos by Chris Crews

The Halton Arena in the Student Activity Center was crowded with thousands of new students as UNC Charlotte faculty, alumni and  student government officials welcomed them to the University Aug. 22.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the roughly hour-long ceremony hosted a series of speakers who spoke about different aspects of UNC Charlotte’s history and culture. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan Lorden was the first to speak that day. Lorden welcomed the students to the university, telling them that the Miner symbolizes “hard work and perseverance.” She also mentioned the dozens of faculty members who had come out to help welcome the students.

The second speaker to take the podium was UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois. He explained the university’s vision and mission statement. He also mentioned how UNC Charlotte contributes 61 percent of the total enrollment growth in the UNC school system.

“We are here to make a difference and you, as students, joined with our faculty and our staff as the difference makers. Getting involved in the community is an essential part of being a student here,” said Dubois in his speech.

The next speaker after Dubois was Board of Trustees member Micheal Wilson, who is also an alumnus of UNC Charlotte. Wilson spoke more on the history of the university and UNC Charlotte’s founder Bonnie Cone.

After a personal anecdote from Wilson’s time studying at UNC Charlotte, he introduced the key note speaker for the night, Associate Professor of the Department of Religious Studies Kent Brintnall, who was asked to speak from the perspective of a faculty member on how students canto make the most of their college experience.

“If you approach your college education with the spirit of exploration and discovery, you will succeed,” Brintnall said. “You will succeed because you will be transformed and you will remain open to transformation.”

Student Body President Fahn Darkor addressing the class of 2020 during the Student Convocation.
Student Body President Fahn Darkor addressing the class of 2020 during the Student Convocation. Photo by Chris Crews

The final speaker of the day was Student Body President Fahn Darkor. Darkor spoke about the Honor Code and what it is to be a Noble Niner. There are nine components to being a Noble Niner: integrity, honor, scholarship, compassion, accountability, respect, dignity and character. While he did not have enough time to cover all of them, Darkor did elaborate on scholarship, compassion, accountability, respect and nobility.

“I thought [the speeches] were wonderful and they’ve done a great job of welcoming us to campus,” said new student Afra Mahmook. “During the ceremony, they kept repeating the words ‘explore’, ‘discover’ and ‘succeed’. It was really motivating me to step out of my comfort zone.”

For some students, the chance to hear what the different speakers had to say helped take the edge off of starting their college experience.

“I was a little nervous when I got here, but after hearing what everybody had to say at the ceremony, I felt a lot more at ease,” said new student Megan Mull.

As Darkor concluded his speech, he invited some students to stand in the bleachers above the stage and lead the arena in singing UNC Charlotte’s alma Mmater. The UNC Charlotte Pride of Niner Nation made a surprise appearance to perform the fight song as students exited the arena.

Member of the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band performing at the Student Convocation. Photo by Leysha Caraballo.
Member of the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band performing at the Student Convocation. Photo by Leysha Caraballo

While the ceremony held in the Halton Arena was the main event of the day, there were several other events and activities scheduled to acclimate the new students to campus.

Students spent most of the day split into their respective colleges. They learned about their different colleges, met faculty and the dean of their college and received other useful information for their time at UNC Charlotte.


Crime Blotter: June 28- July 2

The following reflects arrests, calls for service and incidents responded to by the UNC Charlotte campus Police and Public Safety Department. Incident dates run from June 28- July 2.

For more information on Mecklenburg County arrests, visit the Mecklenburg County Arrest Inquiry.


June 28

  • Burson Building, driver of vehicle one struck a metal stanchion while attempting to enter a gated area in a golf cart.

June 30

  • Lot 8, while exiting the parking lot, a school bus struck the gate. No injuries were reported.
  • Lot 29, officer took a report regarding a hit and run.

July 1

  • Mary Alexander Road, while driving straight on Mary Alexander towards Van Landingham Road, driver of vehicle one struck a cement pillar and lost control. The passenger in the vehicle was taken to the Carolinas Medical Center. The driver was given a field sobriety test and arrested for driving while intoxicated.

July 2

  • Alumni Way, while attempting to turn left from the walkway of Scott Hall towards Alumni Way, driver of vehicle one struck a bench. No injuries were reported.


June 30

  • Student Union, individual was arrested for second degree trespassing.


June 30

  • Atkins Library, unknown person(s) removed victim’s cell phone which was left unsecured in a public area.
  • Holshouser Hall, unknown person removed the victim’s items which were left unsecured in a secure area.

UNC Charlotte launches Light Rail website

UNC Charlotte has launched a new website in an effort to keep students more informed on the construction of the Light Rail on campus. The website can be found at:

The website was launched to give students a single source to access any information related to the construction of the Light Rail.

At the website, students can find information regarding potential benefits, a project timeline, information regarding accessibility and how to use the Light Rail. There will also be updates from the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) about road closures and other information useful to students on the site.

“We developed the web site to help our campus community understand why the Light Rail is beneficial to individuals and to the University overall,” said Senior Director of Public Relations and News Services John Bland.

Construction is set to complete during the summer of 2017 and should be available for use by the fall semester of that same year.

“The Light Rail further connects UNC Charlotte with Uptown and the neighborhoods along the Blue Line Extension. It helps people connect with our campus,” said Bland.

There will also be information regarding tickets and special passes for students closer to opening.

Crime Blotter: June 15-18

The following reflects arrests, calls for service and incidents responded to by the UNC Charlotte campus Police and Public Safety Department. Incident dates run from June 15-18.

For more information on Mecklenburg County arrests, visit the Mecklenburg County Arrest Inquiry.


June 15

  • PVA Receiving and Storage, victim reported that on June 10, they discovered damage to their vehicle. Victim stated that originally he was going to take care of the damage himself, but after receiving an estimate decided to turn it in to his insurance and the insurance company was requesting a police report.

June 18

  • PVA Lot 23, while backing, driver of vehicle one struck the left front side of vehicle two with the rear right corner their vehicle. No injuries were reported.

Breaking & Entering

June 16,

  • NERF Field, unknown subject(s) cut a chain linked fence and a lock to a storage shed and removed multiple items from the shed. Additionally, a Gatorade machine was pried open and the coin tray was left on the ground empty.


June 16

  • Grigg Hall, unknown person(s) removed a laptop from a conference room which was left secured in a public area.

June 17

  • West Deck, unknown person(s) removed victim’s empty purse from her vehicle. The rear window and the passenger side door were broken.


New partnership designed to aid struggling Charlotte-Mecklenburg students

The Colleges of Education and Health and Human Services have formed a partnership with the Aldersgate Retirement Community and the Johnston YMCA to form a summer reading program dedicated to raising reading levels for incoming second and third graders.

The 4 week reading intensive teaching program designed to assist 30-40 second and third graders, is set to take place between July 11 through Aug. 5 at the Aldersgate Retirement Community. The camp is a multistep program with the purpose of raising the reading level of students who are currently struggling with their reading skills.

“They’re rising second and third graders and they are still struggling with reading. We are trying to get them on grade level and get them on target,” said Dean of the College of Education Ellen McIntyre.

Days at the camp are split into different parts. The first part is a research-based reading intensive course. The course has been researched and proven to work for the population of children who will be attending the camp. 

“A lot of reading programs across our community are not really research based so that’s one of the things that we’re doing differently,” said McIntyre.

For the second part, members of the Aldersgate Retirement Community will read to the children. The seniors at the community will help guide the children’s learning by reading aloud to them. The kids will practice their reading skills for 2 hours a day before moving onto other activities.

The Johnston YMCA takes over for the second half of the day. The kids will take part in different activities directed by the YMCA like recreational swimming, learning water safety and other recreational activities.

While the camp is focused on helping the students learn, there is a joint effort to train prospective teachers using the program. Graduate students from the College of Education will practice teaching strategies with the community directly under the supervision of UNC Charlotte faculty. The program will also train Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers.

“We’re hoping that within about 3 years, everybody that graduates from the College of Education with an Elementary or Special Education license to teach has experienced teaching kids directly with this particular population in East Charlotte,” said McIntyre.

Families of the program are also required to get involved if the children are to be allowed to participate. The College of Health and Human Services will hold seminars for the parents on healthy eating and how to buy healthy foods on a budget.

The students selected to participate in the summer camp were chosen earlier in the year. The students were selected from a pool of Charlotte Mecklenburg students who showed signs of struggling after testing in the spring. Once they students were selected, parents were given the options to register for the camp.

The results will be measured over the course of the summer and if the program shows improvement over the years, McIntyre hopes to spread it to the greater Charlotte area.

The summer reading program is funded through donations by UNC Charlotte’s Provost Office of Academic Affairs, ReEmprise and the Winer Family Foundation.