At least most of you got it

Chris Kurker-Stewart

Stephanie Held pointed out last week that there are two sides to every story. I could not agree more; however I am puzzled as to why she was elected to tell Karla Russo’s. I feel I must respond to Ms. Held, who is presumably still completing her master’s degree at Quinnipiac and accusing me of not checking facts. The only two facts I can find that her editorial questions are the time of Alumni Affairs’ event and why we did not contact Ms. Russo directly. Allow me to clarify:

Yes, it is true Ms. Russo asked to end the AIDS Quilt an hour early. We had it scheduled until 3 p.m., and her event started at 2 p.m. That’s one hour, right? Wrong. Anyone with a shred of common sense can figure out that you can’t take down a quilt display and all its related materials, then set up chairs, tables, a stage, microphones and all the associated wiring in one minute. In fact, you can’t start any event at the same time as the one before it is ending. In this case, it took one and a half hours. Apparently the mystery organization that Ms. Russo was a part of in college never held any events or she would have known this. We had to end our event 2-and-a-half hours early, not one.

As for the issue of direct contact, I can only attribute the confusion to Ms. Held’s complete lack of involvement whatsoever in this entire communication. I find it absurd that someone who has no knowledge or connection at all to the situation has questioned my personal experiences. Ms. Russo was contacted directly by email by both Audrey Foote and myself and vice versa and a dialogue was established. In fact, we were the only ones involved for an extended period of time. I’m not sure where Ms. Held gets her information, but most of it only serves to baffle me. She notes that Ms. Russo’s “door is always open,” as though we are in need of counseling. As the person who precipitated this situation, it was Ms. Russo’s responsibility to be proactive and contact us, which she was and did. I do not think the status of her office door affected any of the proceedings.

The idea that recounting Ms. Russo’s history would affect my position is an odd and remarkably weak approach. It seems that there is some assumption of loyalty because she graduated from Quinnipiac. I don’t care where she went to school and I don’t care what she did while she was there. What I do care about is the situation I was involved in.

None of my friends submitted my personal bio to Ms. Russo, Public Affairs or Alumni Affairs hoping that they would be swayed. I’m not sure why Ms. Held thought it was necessary for us to read her curiously vague chronology. Furthermore, Ms. Held suggested that we are at fault for not doing a background check on Ms. Russo. Again, this suggestion is laughable. I am not going to research the past history of each and every person who sends me an email. What would that possibly accomplish? If Ms. Held has that much time and interest on her hands, perhaps I can contract out to her. She does cite her ability to tell “two sides to every story” – even stories with which she has no evidentiary involvement. That could be very useful.

She asserts that she is “sure that…the display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at Quinnipiac, would never be looked down on, but rather respected.” So, Ms. Held, just what editorial did you read? It obviously wasn’t mine. I stated that the exact opposite was true. I know, because I just dealt with the situation and it was the premise for my entire editorial. I felt the same way you do until I started getting emails from Ms. Russo four months ago. What you are sure of and unsure of has absolutely no bearing on anything, given your apparent lack of involvement whatsoever in this entire process, other than, of course, knowing Karla Russo.

Lastly, I sincerely hope that Ms. Held was not and is not studying journalism. In her first paragraph, she points out that the integrity of a newspaper is threatened by not reporting news in an unbiased manner. That’s entirely correct. Problem is, editorials are not news. They are opinions, as the titles “Commentary” and “Opinion” clearly state at the top of the page. An opinion cannot be unbiased. I direct you to your nearest dictionary. While you are there, your word choice requires some work as well: our writing was not filled with “the endless stream of slander,” mostly because slander is spoken attempts to defame. I don’t recall reading my editorial aloud to you, since I have never seen you before – not even at the two-day AIDS Quilt display that you so adamantly support. Maybe I missed you.

And, though it matters not at all, you suggest that we wait until the “smoke had settled.” Please note that while you have a grasp of some clich