Letters for January 4, 2001

Overboard with PC thinking

Re “Coffin & Keys” (RN&R, Dec. 14):

I read your recent article about the secret UNR society known as Coffin & Keys with great interest and great concern. I take issue with those whose stated goal is to ban this organization from campus life.

The statements and actions of people like [former Ethnic Student Alliance president] Oscar Espinoza-Parra represent the absolute worst in modern “politically correct” thinking. Your article explicitly stated that Coffin & Keys has no recent history of either inciting or carrying out violence or intimidation, and yet Mr. Espinoza-Parra and his colleagues in the ASUN Senate are determined to ban it from participating in campus activities because they perceive it to be “racist.”

Isn’t it ironic that those who profess to strive for a greater sense of “community” would engage in such blatantly discriminatory tactics against a minority group, because it is misunderstood? Where have we heard this line of thinking before?

Walter X. Shumate Sparks

Hug was not a KKK member

Re “Coffin & Keys” (RN&R, Dec. 14):

The cover article discussing Coffin & Keys stated that my father, Procter R. Hug, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan when he attended the University of Nevada. He was, indeed, a member of Coffin & Keys, but he absolutely was not a member of the Ku Klux Klan, nor did Coffin & Keys in any way have ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

This false assertion no doubt comes from the Dec. 11, 1996, RN&R article which made similar statements. These were based on the misinterpretation of a small article on page eight of the May 15, 1924, Sagebrush. This article described an initiation of 11 students into Coffin & Keys, which it stated was “the men’s honor fraternity on the Hill.” My father, Procter R. Hug, was one of those being initiated. The entire campus was invited to Mackay Stadium to witness a rather tasteless skit, and the Ku Klux Klan aspect was simply a promotional stunt that had been used to publicize the event around campus. A review of that 1924 Sagebrush issue reveals that this “momentous event” was also knocked off the front page by over a dozen other articles about events such as a music rally, a senior dance and a glee club rehearsal.

I write this letter to clear up this matter, because the Ku Klux Klan is the antithesis of everything my father stood for as a student, a coach, a teacher, a principal, a superintendent and a legislator. Were he alive today, he would readily state that he has always opposed everything the Ku Klux Klan stands for. The life he lived well exemplifies this.

Procter R. Hug, Jr. Reno

Don’t allow masked participants

Re “Coffin & Keys” (RN&R, Dec. 14):

I read your article on Coffin & Keys in the UNR Homecoming parade. I think this sucks. They should not give out parade permits to people who wear masks. It is just like the KKK marching around in those stupid hoods. If people are too chicken to show their faces, they shouldn’t be in a parade.

Let’s get the city to pass a law that says, “No more masks or hoods in public parades.”

Holly Sorenson Reno

Ethnic students racist themselves

Re “Coffin & Keys” (RN&R, Dec. 14):

Let’s say you are a bored ethnic student at a boring-ass college in a boring-ass cow town. One day, you wake up and realize that you are surrounded by white people. But there is no blatant racism! Well, you know that it has to exist!

But there IS a secret society of white boys on campus, and lo and behold, 80 years ago the rumor was that they were loosely tied to the KKK. Never mind that they have never uttered a racist epithet or raised a hand against any person of color. They’re just trying to fool us. So, let’s form an ALLIANCE to protect ourselves from these scumbags and get them kicked off campus, or at least not let them be in the Homecoming parade. Well, it didn’t work because of that damn free speech thing!

Now, it’s Monday morning, and you look in the mirror and again realize that you are still surrounded by white people, but there HAS been some blatant racism! Only it was you that caused it. You caused fear where there was no fear. You caused social upheaval in a place where it was not needed. In effect, YOU have become the racist. Feeling stupid? You should.

Jon Boone Carson City