CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - UNC Charlotte students are demanding change in the wake of a deadly campus shooting. The group 'Real Change' attended Tuesday's County Commissioners meeting to lay out what they want to see happen.
Exactly one week ago, a gunman killed two students and injured four others in a UNCC classroom.
Tonight, the shooting at thier school and the 49 murders Charlotte has seen this year weighed heavy on students as they appealed to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners for action on gun violence.
Members of 'Real Change Now' who gathered at the Government Center in uptown before the commissioner's meeting told FOX 46 they want the county to address gun violence.
"We must affect this change and we must do this now. For the elementary, middle and high school students. Students cannot be allowed to experience gun violence and it is up to our elected officials to make sure they don't have to,” Na'ilah El-Amin said.
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One of the county commissioners, Susan Harden, who is herself a UNCC professor asked students to take a stand last week.
“We expect that our single party commission, having run with a party dedicated to end this senseless gun violence, will heed our call to action,” another student told FOX 46.
“How many times do we have to witness our children--our children--being exposed to gun violence before we have the gumption to do anything about it?” said Trevor Fuller, County Commissioner At-Large.
Commissioners sat with green ribbons and ‘charlotte strong’ pins, ready to hear from those who had to deal with tragedy.
“It is a day of sorrow, heartbreak, weary and anguish,” student Kristin Slade said at the meeting.
Members of 'Real Change Now' laid out the changes they want to see: Exit interviews for students within CMS and the university system, and providing resources for those who drop out-- addressing things that they believe could have prevented the UNCC shooting.
“Should a student leave that place, we don't want them to be held to that place and be weighed down by resentment. We want them to become active and productive members of society,” Melissa Martin said.
But the focus also extends outside the university. They want to see leaders to tackle gun violence in the wider community with a task force and they want stricter gun laws.
The group says they will hold leaders accountable on the change, and commissioners say they know the time has come.
“Once the budget process is done, this conversation will take place because there is a concern and it is time for us to do something,” Commission Chairman George Dunlap said.
One change that has already been made on UNCC's campus is for graduation services, which begin this week. For the first time, people attending graduation at Halton Arena will go through full body metal detectors like the ones you see at airports.
The college police chief says they already planned to have the extra measures before the campus shooting, and the Saturday commencement has been moved to 4 p.m. instead of 3 p.m.
There was one other piece of news tonight to come out of the meeting—the university, when they accepted the resolution marking April 30 as a ‘Day of Remembrance,’ said they will be setting up a commission to find a way to properly remember the victims of shooting.