Letter to the Editor: A Response to Edwin Black

I was surprised when I saw Edwin Black’s letter to the editor after it was published online on May 10. His letter brought up some points that I, as a Guilfordian, felt should be addressed.

I am no Middle-Eastern scholar and cannot tell if Black was ever biased in his presentations earlier this year. But, as a student journalist, Early College student and supporter of freedom of speech, I was disappointed by Black’s response to criticism.

In his letter, Black calls into question Valeria Sosa and Amol Garg’s coverage of the controversy. I would like to remind Black and the rest of campus that The Guilfordian is a student newspaper. We are learning, and sometimes we make mistakes.

But that gives Black no right to attack the reporting. We published nothing libelous. And the change in the perspective between the articles from 2011 and 2014 reflected a pointed change in campus attitudes after both of Black’s presentations.

Black’s discussion of Guilford’s IRS Form 990’s intrigues me. As part of my investigations into salary inequity and The Greenleaf this year, I have read these forms. At Guilford, I have never witnessed anything that contradicts Title VI requirements.

I also disagree with Black’s characterization of the school as Orwellian. Throughout my time at Guilford, I have never seen any evidence of a conspiracy to squash students’ free speech.

Black’s discussions of Students for Justice in Palestine, Diya Abdo and Max Carter disturb me as well. All of these people were exercising their right to free speech in the relative safety of an academic environment just like Black was. I think Black’s characterizations of them are unnecessarily harsh and do not reflect my interactions with these people.

I hope that Black does not misconstrue anything I wrote above. I ask for no retractions, no apologies and no corrections by either side. I only hope that both Black and Guilford can close this chapter of history and continue on our respective voyages of learning and discovery.