A message from Chancellor Guskiewicz: The loss of our fellow Tar Heel

In his Aug. 29 email to campus, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz shared the news of the death of faculty member Dr. Zijie Yan.

Nighttime view of a bell tower on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill.
(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

It is with great sorrow that we share the tragic loss of Dr. Zijie Yan, who was killed in yesterday’s shooting on campus. Dr. Yan was an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences and had been a member of our faculty since 2019. He was a beloved colleague, mentor and friend to many on our campus. My leadership team and I have met with his colleagues and family to express our condolences on behalf of our campus. Please join me in thinking and praying for his family and loved ones during this difficult time.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 30, we will ring the Bell Tower at 1:02 p.m. in honor of Dr. Yan’s memory. I encourage every member of our campus community to take a moment of silence during this time. This is an important way that we can come together as a community to recognize the loss we feel and to support one another.

Over the past 24 hours, I have been grateful for the countless ways our community has come together to care for one another. I’ve talked to faculty and students who sat together through the lockdown. Our Emergency Operations Center and UNC Police have been working through the night to gather information and find answers as we continue this investigation. And together, our faculty, staff and students followed protocols and worked together to ensure the safety of every other person on our campus in accordance with our Emergency Management Policy and Carolina Ready campus preparedness program. We will continue to ask questions and find ways to make our safety procedures even more effective.

We know that the wounds of this tragedy will not heal quickly. I want to remind our campus of the resources that are available to you.

For students, open counseling sessions are available through today at SASB North 1118, Carolina Union 2420 and CAPS from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please also contact the Dean of Students team or Counseling and Psychological Services. For students who may need mental health services outside of business hours, please call the 24/7 Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) line: 919-966-3658.

For faculty and staff, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will have dedicated counselors available for faculty and staff today and Wednesday: in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Chapman Hall, Room 125, 205 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill and by phone at 704-525-5850 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EAP support is also available online at guidanceresources.com. Log on with a username and password or register with Web ID: TARHEELS. You may also call 877-314-5841 to make an appointment with a counselor. Support is free and confidential.

Additionally, the University has set up a hotline for students, faculty, staff and the community to address concerns and questions. It can be accessed by calling 919-918-1999.

Please continue to follow unc.edu for information as it becomes available for our Tar Heel community. Also watch Alert Carolina for updates on our campus status. While the investigation is ongoing, we may be limited in what details we can share, but we will do our best in the days ahead to provide as much information as we are able.

Our goal at Carolina is to build our community together and in the last 24 hours, I have seen examples of our community and the world around us come together in grief and support of our faculty, staff and students. In this time of profound sadness, let’s continue to build and strengthen our community together.


Kevin M. Guskiewicz