'Terrified': UNC students still apprehensive as classes resume after second lockdown of semester

Samantha Kummerer Image
BySamantha Kummerer WTVD logo
Thursday, September 14, 2023
UNC classes resume but students say they're still rattled
Some students expressed frustration over the lack of detailed information during both lockdowns.

ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the second time in the past three weeks students and staff at UNC-Chapel Hill were on edge after a gun scare prompted another campus-wide lockdown.

Mickel Harris is accused of showing up to the student union on Wednesday and pointing a gun at an Alpine Bagel employee. He made a first court appearance Thursday from the Orange County Jail.

Classes resumed Thursday and students said they remained apprehensive.

"'It's happening again' They're yelling at people to go inside. There is another shooter and we were like, 'What?' and then we heard the sirens come on and then the alert came on and we were like 'there's no way," UNC freshman Carsen Milner recalled.

When Milner received the alert of an 'armed and dangerous person on campus on Wednesday, she was sitting in the same statistics class where just two weeks before she received a similar alert.

"It's traumatic having to relive it again," she said after the second lockdown.

When she envisioned her first semester, she never thought she'd be hiding from two armed and dangerous people within the first month.

"We're all just sitting there, ducked like this so if a shot came through the window, we'd be covered by the seat," she said.

Freshman Analise Barton had a different experience this week. During the first lockdown, she was in her dorm, but this time she had to hide on campus.

"We had to go into the basement. It was really scary because I didn't experience it the first time. The first time I was in bed in my room just watching TV, so I felt a lot more safe but this time I was absolutely terrified," Barton said.

Some students expressed frustration over the lack of detailed information during both lockdowns. While UNC sent out numerous alerts throughout the lockdowns, they lacked details on what was happening and where.

"There were so many false things that went around that day that just made everything worse," Barton said. "All we could do was just to latch on to every little thing that we were given because no one was giving us an official report."

Other students appreciated the communication that officials could provide during the incidents.

"I think there is only so much the university can do while it is going on that they can't really do much to cause more fear. I think their response was pretty good, especially the second time. There were a lot more texts or a lot more frequent, so it helped people keep calm," said UNC student Shane Adams.

UNC published an online survey this week to give students and staff the opportunity to offer feedback on the response to the Aug. 28 fatal shooting.

Classes were back in session on Thursday but the university's Counseling and Psychological Services office offered expanded walk-in hours.

Students said some professors were also pushing back assignment deadlines and canceling individual classes to help students have time to recover.

"The university itself is doing what it can but I think my professors are doing a really good job of helping catch up and give us the time we need," expressed UNC student Cooper Owens.

Milner said she's trying to keep the advice from her dad at the front of her mind as she moves forward.

"My dad told me, 'I know it's scary but you can't let this put a damper on your college experience. Just be careful and aware of your surroundings. Still, try to live your life how you want to live it. Have hope. Be happy,'" Milner said.