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Kechley Krazy Kookout

In May 2004, a flyer for the music department's annual spring cook-out, traditionally called Kechley Krazy Kookout (because it is traditionally held at the house Music Professor David Kechley), highlighted the initials KKK. This reminded many people of the initials of the Klu Klux Klan and was, therefore, offensive and insensitive. Some argued that reaction to the flyer was overblown.

The flyer printed last year to advertise the music department's "Krazy Kechley Kookout" Villegas said, produced the kind of uncontrolled dialogue that is detrimental to progress. "So many things happened in that day and a half that blew the poster out of proportion," she said.
Esa Seegulam '06, co-chair of the Muslim Student Union and member of the Committee on Diversity and Community, had a similar impression of the flyer incident. "I feel like students often fall into the trap of creating a lot of hysteria," he said. "I feel like we've fallen into that trap before where we really miss the issue."

Others felt that the incident was emblematic of widespread ignorance (or worse) on the Williams campus.

Black students who talked with The Eagle didn't believe the incident was wholly innocent. More likely, it was an ignorant mistake, they said.
Megan Saffold, 20, a junior from Tacoma, Wash., said, "It's very insensitive. I can't say it's an honest mistake. Stuff like this happens on campuses all the time."

This is the text of the all-campus e-mail on the topic sent from Morty to the campus:

May 12, 2004
To the Williams Community,
For several years the Music Department has held an end-of-year cookout at the home of Chair David Kechley. It's been called the Kechley Krazy Kookout. An e-mail invitation was sent this year by a department staff person. The person added the name of the event's initials, which, of course, are KKK.
It is clear that this was done with no bad intent. The purpose, in fact, was the playful one of drawing attention to the alliteration. The person who made that addition now realizes how unsettling the presence of those letters are to members of our community. No one could feel worse about that outcome than this person already does. Apologies have been sent to those who received the message.
This occurrence is clearly unfortunate. While it happened without malice, it provides an opportunity as a college to acknowledge again publicly the importance to Williams of racial and ethnic understanding. Be assured that the College's commitment to making our campus community open and welcoming is unwavering.
Morton Owen Schapiro

Campus discussion of the incident was truncated because it occurred so late in the academic year.

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