Letter to the Editor: Hot topic: the Guilford College woods

I was, until last week at least, pretty apathetic about the issue of bonfires and student-built structures in the woods. Like most students, I did not open the email regarding a policy change about student activities in the woods. This disinterest lasted until I read The Guilfordian’s front page story. To say I was left speechless would be an understatement. I was shocked the administration had not done more to prevent me and my fellow students from injuring ourselves in the woods.
To explain, I should say that I am one hundred and ten percent behind the administration on this issue, particularly in regard to their stance on drugs and alcohol around the fire pits. It is well known that fire and incapacitated people are a dangerous mix, as are inebriated people and tree forts. This is why the administration absolutely had to destroy every fire pit as well as the two story tree fort. However, I do not think the administration goes far enough in protecting students from themselves.

I was strolling in the woods the other day and saw, by my count, nearly two dozen trees with limbs that grow low enough and are spaced at such regular intervals to make climbing quite easy. These trees must be cut down, or at the very least be trimmed so that no low-hanging limbs that can be used to start climbing remain. These trees are extremely dangerous. Imagine a drunk or high person wandering through the woods and coming upon a climbing tree. Their defenses are down and they care little for their own safety. So they scramble up the trunk higher and higher until a limb breaks and they plummet back to earth, injuring themselves or worse, landing next to a personal injury lawyer. This is my nightmare and I will not have it actualized! I call upon both the student and professorial bodies to join me in taking this matter into our own hands. I will give the administration two weeks from the day this is published to remove all climbing trees from the woods. If by this time the climbing trees are not gone, I will either alone or in conjunction with others saw them down.

Furthermore, I call on the student body to put aside its objections to this sanitization of our woods. Remember, protecting you from every possible danger you might encounter drunk, high or sober is vastly more important than having a student body that can enjoy the woods. So, please pipe down with your disingenuous arguments of community-strengthening and innovation and, remember that when the school tears student creations apart, they are protecting us from the woods’ well-documented and extremely lengthy history of being a place of drug-induced injury and sexual assault that can only be magnified by having a “work of art” in our woods.

Lastly, on my walk through the woods, I noticed several boulders and at least one slippery slope that should be made safer as quickly as is legally expedient. Keeping student safety in mind, I think the school also needs to tear down the student party spot and haven of underage drinking known as “Milner Hall,” which was responsible for several hospitalizations last semester in short succession. I would like to preemptively thank the administration for acting on my proposal, but also remind everyone that if the administration is content to continue with its current half-measures, I will have to take the safety of this community and lives of the climbing trees into my own hands.