I wanted to voice my support for Cecil Bothwell’s investigative reporting and my dismay at the recent decision to terminate his position at the Mountain Xpress.
For the past five years, I have taken my students from Warren Wilson College to meet with Cecil in your offices so he could give them a glimpse [of] life as a reporter for a local independent publication. Students in classes ranging from Environmental Communications to Community Organizing sat on chairs, desks and the floor in Cecil’s small office, where he told stories of uncovering truths behind the people and places in Western North Carolina. Of all the field trips we took, our hour at the Xpress always impressed students the most with Cecil’s passion, his pride in your publication and his commitment to telling the truth for the benefit of our community.
I’m not sure what to tell the students in my spring semester class. Cecil’s work was the reason this visit made such an impact on students who aim to make a difference through their writing, organizing and community involvement. Indeed, Cecil became a role model for them, as he has been for many of us. I urge you to reconsider this decision so Cecil can continue his work through the Xpress.
— Mallory McDuff