CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — With heavy hearts and a mindset still rooted in concern over their safety, hundreds of students, faculty, and community members gathered at UNC-Chapel Hill Wednesday evening to honor Professor Zijie Yan.
Yan was shot and killed Monday inside the Caudill Labs by a student he had been advising. He studied Applied Physical Sciences and has been the adviser to the student since 2022.
“He was one of the kindest people I ever met,” Theo Dingemans, a professor and colleague of Yan’s, said to the crowd Wednesday evening.
“He was soft-spoken, a great listener. He had a wonderful sense of humor. On August 28th, all of this came to an end.”
The entire vigil can be watched below:
“We are one Carolina, where hope will always rise above fear,” another colleague stressed.
The circumstances around why the student targeted Professor Yan remain a mystery to law enforcement officers who continue collecting evidence at Caudill Labs, where the shooting occurred.
While questions remain, students on campus have begun to demand action to prevent future deaths.
During a rally held hours before the Wednesday vigil, one student told reporters, “We will not stand for this anymore. This does not have to be our reality. We know with the lawmakers and what happened in the law session, we know there are opportunities to make this safer for us.”