Looking back on an eventful school year

Mary Hobbs fire

It was a September morning when construction workers in Mary Hobbs Hall called 911 to report a fire.

“Our crews made an offensive attack into the attic area looking for the fire,” said Greensboro Fire Chief Greg Grayson to the News & Record. “Once they got into the attic, they determined the fire was not in the attic: it was on the second floor.”

Whether ghosts or a simple construction accident are to blame for the fire is still widely disputed to this day.

“The ghosts are angry,” said senior and former resident of Mary Hobbs A.C. Canup. “Mary Hobbs is an all female dorm so she’s probably like, what the f— are all these males doing here?”

Edwin Black protest

Edwin Black, acclaimed journalist and author, visited Guilford College on Nov. 4 for a presentation titled “Financing the Flames.” He previously visited campus in 2011 to discuss his book “The Farhud–Roots of The Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust,” which some interpreted as Islamophobic and insensitive.

In response, the Students for Justice in Palestine arranged a peaceful walkout during Black’s talk with support from many fellow students and faculty.

Black considered the walkout disrespectful and asked for a full retraction of the SJP’s statements, which called Black a “notorious racist.”

The Greenleaf’s many locations 

At the beginning of the fall semester, the Greenleaf was moved into the basement of Milner Hall.

“The move has been generating a lot of excitement in the Greenleaf,” said senior and Greenleaf member Chelsea Yarborough. “We are hoping to open (it) up to a vast expanse of students and encourage students of all years to come in.”

However, the excitement did not last long. By the time school had resumed after January term, The Greenleaf had been shut down. Again.

Guilford had overlooked various city procedural requirements, including failing to obtain the permits from Greensboro to renovate the basement in Milner Hall into a coffee shop. Disputes between Public Safety and administrators furthered the confusion.

However, The Greenleaf recently reopened in the library and in an updated location in Milner.

“As soon as I found out (that The Greenleaf had to move), I realized we had to do something to get The Greenleaf off the ground,” said Addy Allred, sophomore and Greenleaf member. “So we opened in the library on April 17… our next step is to really plan for the summer and make sure we can staff both the library and the Milner space.”

Salaita: A Divided Campus

A visit from Steven Salaita in the spring caused unrest on campus. Salaita, an acclaimed author and speaker, visited Guilford following an incident with the University of Illinois. The University had been in the process of hiring Salaita; however, after Salaita tweeted his reaction to the Palestine-Israeli conflict — which many found anti-Semitic — the University terminated his job offer .

Some Guilford community members disagreed with Salaita’s visit, leading to a location change for his talk and a campus-wide discussion regarding free speech.

Logo Changes

When students returned to campus from winter break, many were unpleasantly surprised to find the tree missing from the entrance sign on West Friendly Ave. A simplistic sign matching the updated typography on the Guilford website replaced the old logo. This left several students and faculty members up in arms about the loss of the symbolic logo.

“The new logo (is not as) identifiable as the tree,” said Friends Center Director and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies Max Carter.

However, some welcomed the new logo change.

“The tree remains an important element in the expanded logo system that was launched in mid-2013,” said Ty Buckner, associate vice president communications & marketing. “The emblem, including the tree, is displayed on the website, social media pages, major publications, stationery and business cards — making highly visible impressions far beyond the corner of Friendly and New Garden.”

Serendipity

After a year of rumors that it would be canceled, Serendipity took place on the third weekend in April. The event was well executed and staff was prepared to assist students.

Guilford followed several steps to ensure a safe and fun event for the entire community, including ID checks outside concerts, protocol changes toward outside guests, indoor concerts and training for alcohol and drug abuse.

“Our office has been doing a lot of bystander training,” said Associate Dean of Students Jen Agor. “Particularly, Kristie Wyatt has done hours of that with clubs, organizations and athletes.”

All of the changes amounted to a safe Serendipity, which will hopefully allow it to continue for many years to come.