The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register


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Chancellor Martin and Police Chief Cherry hold Forum to discussing Campus Safety


In hopes of relieving panic caused by recent incidents surrounding gun violence in the N.C. A&T community, University Police Chief Jermaine Cherry and Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. addressed the campus Wednesday in a virtual town hall and gave students, parents and alumni the opportunity to ask safety-related questions.  

The forum follows the death of freshman Deja Rae Reaves, 18, Tuesday evening after being fatally shot at an off campus function. 

Martin opened the forum with a moment of silence and provided his heartfelt condolences to Reaves family, friends and professors.

“It is an absolutely senseless death,” Martin said. “Deja did not deserve this. She deserved to live.”

He followed by addressing concerns over recent incidents that have transpired over the past two weeks on campus including the arrest of Brandon James Bently on Sunday, March 26 at approximately 4 a.m.

Bentley, who has no affiliation with the university, was arrested by campus police after being pulled over on Sullivan Street and Benbow Road for reckless driving. It was then that authorities discovered several weapons and ammunition in his vehicle.

Students and faculty were outraged after being informed of this incident a week later via email sent to the student body following FOX 8 who broke the story and several other news outlets began asking questions.  

Martin did take accountability for the lack of transparency regarding the timeliness of communication being sent out about the incident. However, he also noted that AggieAlert messages are only sent under specific circumstances.

“We should have done that. Chief Cherry and I accept full responsibility for not sharing the facts of the incident at least a day after the event when Mr. Bentley appeared in court for the first time,” Martin expressed. “However, our policy only calls for us to send Aggie Alerts when there is imminent danger.” 

Martin spent much time addressing the use of social media to increase awareness of criminal activity, but it cannot alert police as fast as a report can. 

The chancellor spoke about the rumors of an on campus ‘active shooter’ event that transpired last Thursday, March 30, following a viral video of N.C. A&T University Police Department (UPD) storming one of the campus residence halls. 

It was later revealed via NCAT UPD Twitter that the rumors were a false alarm.

“It’s one thing to report things on social media, it’s another thing to call the police. If you see something, report something,” Martin said “Do not become a part of the rumor mill. If you are not certain that something is being transpired, do not share that information.”

The most recent event occurring on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, was heavy on everyone’s mind as it led to the second death by shooting of a student this academic year.

“Even though Cottages is out of our jurisdiction, we have been speaking with the Greensboro Police Department and Cottages management in regards to their security measures and will be enhancing presence in that area,” Cherry said.

Furthermore, Martin made clear that both for housing and safety purposes, students are highly encouraged to congregate in other places.

“We encourage our students to live elsewhere, The Cottages properties do not live up to the standards that we would see our students living in” Martin said.

N.C. A&T students have had enough and are beginning to find ways to make certain the student body overall does not become numb to these occurrences.

“I do not understand why it takes more than one student dying for us to get it. It is time to get off SideChat and take real action,” sophomore mechanical engineering student Damon Brown expressed.

Throughout the forum, questions arose from both parents and students regarding how N.C. A&T plans to move forward regarding both on and off campus safety.

UPD believes it is not only up to them to ensure the safety of students. Students must also do their part as well by reporting any suspicious or criminal activity.

 “As long as we work together, there is no threat that can impose an issue on our campus,” Cherry said.

 Student leaders of SGA have also encouraged students to not just report, but to demand changes and conversations of campus safety.

“Please know when to leave, know your limits and clearly assess your surroundings,” said student body president, Ezana Tamrat. “I just want students to use this time to be close to loved ones, make smart choices and pray for the student [and] families impacted.”

To close out the forum, Martin  encouraged students, faculty and staff as the university approaches the holiday and wellness days on April 10 and 11 to be mindful of self-care. 

Resources are available for those who desire support. Students may visit the Counseling Services center in Murphy Hall, suite 109, or call 336-334-7727 for a consultation.

Counseling Services now promotes the app OASIS, an online application that assists with mental health. Users are able to increase awareness, decrease stigmas and gain access to additional mental health resources.

Faculty and staff may contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), ComPsych, at 1-866-511-3373, or via using the company ID: NCAT.

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