UNR parade won’t allow anonymous groups

It’s been nearly a year since a controversy erupted over whether to allow anonymous groups to march in the annual Homecoming parade at the University of Nevada, Reno. Now, the matter seems to have been settled with hardly a peep of protest.

The focal point of the debate is Coffin & Keys, a nearly century-old secret society on campus. The group has been accused of being racist, sexist and homophobic, partly because of newsletters the group printed in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, although more recent newsletters say the members “regret that a campus group founded for such a noble reason has shown racist tendencies in the distant past.”

Coffin & Keys members marched in last year’s UNR Homecoming parade wearing masks and were not required to reveal their identities. But according to Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Angie Taylor, Alumni Relations will now require all groups who wish to enter the parade to submit a list of names of the members who will participate in the event. In addition, those members will be required to show identification the morning of the parade, if requested.

Taylor said the new rule is not an “anti-C&K rule,” but says that it will affect the group’s tradition of participating in the parade anonymously. She said that the parade applications, like any public document, would be shown to anyone who asks to see them.

The decision is the latest development in a debate that gained momentum last October, when new rules for the parade were proposed to the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. The proposal would have asked Alumni Relations, which is in charge of the parade, to require all parade participants to reveal their identities. The proposal was passed by the ASUN Senate and then immediately vetoed by then-ASUN President Carlos Ledon, who later told the RN&R that the whole thing was just a witch hunt.

Sponsors of the proposal and members of the Ethnic Student Alliance protested Ledon’s decision by marching in the parade wearing black, with blue tape over their mouths to symbolize "how [ethnic students] have been silenced and ignored by the university," one ESA member said in an opinion column in the UNR student newspaper.