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K.C. Potter was born in 1939 at Fallsburg, Kentucky. In high school, K.C. wrote sport stories for the local newspaper, and participated in speech tournaments at Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky. He attended Berea College, a liberal arts college founded in 1855 on the principle of racial and gender inclusion, majoring in history, political science and English. From Berea, K.C. attended Vanderbilt Law School, graduating in 1964.

After working for a year as a law clerk to a Tennessee Supreme Court justice, K.C. got a call from Vanderbilt, and in 1965, he returned to his alma mater as its Assistant Dean of Men. He would stay at ‘Vandy’ until his retirement some 36 years later.

Known to many as the Harvard of the South, Vanderbilt in that era was deeply conservative, and very hostile to any hint of gay activity, especially as AIDS emerged and crested in the 1980s. Against this backdrop, in 1987, K.C. took the first steps to create safe places for gay students on campus. Change did not happen overnight, or easily. When Vanderbilt’s fledgling gay rights group began organizing in support of a formal university nondiscrimination policy, K.C. advocated for congressional-style hearings to develop a policy. Running into resistance from then-Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt, K.C. brought a number of gay and lesbian students before the Board of Trustees to testify about their campus experiences. The students won the Board over – and Chancellor Wyatt was forced to give in.

During his entire tenure at Vanderbilt, K.C. Potter could not come out himself as a gay man. Everything changed after his retirement in 1998. Six months later, K.C. met his partner Richard Patrick online, and began his first long-term relationship. 

Today, K.C. and Richard live together on a farm in Hickman County, Tennessee. For the past ten years, they have hosted an October Fall Fest on their farm, with 75 to 100 attendees including neighbors, friends, and Vanderbilt people. K.C. writes, “Being a partner to this man keeps me very active!”

Although we yearned to visit K.C.’s farm, for practical reasons, it made more sense to record K.C.’s OUTWORDS interview in another beautiful location: the K.C. Potter Center on the Vanderbilt campus, which houses the university’s office of LGBTQI Life. The stately building is a fitting, vibrant tribute to this unassuming man who, time and time again, put his career on the line for young queer students with no one to turn to – except Dean Potter.
Kate Kunath: [00:00:00] I want to talk about is just your early life. But actually, let's have your name. Tell me your name and the proper spelling.
K.C. Potter: K.C. Potter, P-O-T-T-E-R. Now, if you want to know what that stands for, I'll be happy to tell you, but you'll have to listen to the whole story.
Kate Kunath: I'm all ears.
K.C. Potter: You're all ears? My great-grandfather was Isaac Potter.
K.C. Potter: [00:00:30] And Isaac was known as Shooter Ike because he was in southeast Kentucky after the Civil War, and there was no law in southeast Kentucky after the Civil War. He was strongly pro-Union and he hated these feuds. Feuds made him sick to his stomach, he just could not stand his family getting into a feud. And so to escape a feud, he moved to northeastern Kentucky near Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky.
K.C. Potter: [00:01:00] He bought six hundred and some acres up there and he established a big house and he established an ice house, which was underground. This was in 1890. An ice house, and they would cut the ice house from the river and sled it over in the wintertime and pack it in sawdust and they would have ice on the Fourth of July.
K.C. Potter: [00:01:30] When my grandfather was born in 1890, one side of the family wanted him named this thing, and the other side of the family wanted him named him this thing. And they were about to get into a squall about it and fight and feud. So my great-grandfather, Shooter Ike Potter, who was a dead shot with a .32-40 Winchester, he ruled that the boy would name himself when he got old enough.
K.C. Potter: [00:02:00] Old enough happened to be nine years of age, and his hero was Christopher Carson, and so my grandfather was named Kip Carson. And whenever I was born on Blaine Creek, in a two-room log cabin built out over the creek, my grandfather rode his horse across Fallsburg Mountain and he gave my sister 50 cents to influence my parents to name me after him.
K.C. Potter: [00:02:30] And I've hated it all my life. And I've hated it all my life, so I go by K.C. That's the story. So anybody who asks, I always tell them what it is, but I say, you got to listen to the story. I'm not going to tell you unless you listen to the story.
Kate Kunath: Your grandfather was very determined.
K.C. Potter: [00:03:00] Oh, he was. Yes. And he's one of those people who greatly influenced my life. He was known as K.C. also. One of his sayings was, You'll never learn any younger. And so at seven, I was mowing hay by a machine pulled by two horses. And he was walking behind to make sure that I did everything correct. And I was up on top of a wagon, piled as high with hay as you can imagine, and I was driving that big wagon back into the barn.
K.C. Potter: [00:03:30] And me seven years of age. You'll never learn any younger. His other saying that stuck with me all these years, You take a man's money, you give him a day's work. I was a student at Berea and I was going to be ... let's see, it was the summer after my sophomore year.
K.C. Potter: [00:04:00] I took a job working for Berea, and we called ourselves the housing crew, and we went through the empty dormitories and we fixed them up and got them ready for the next fall. So the third day, the foreman, who was also a student but he was a senior, he said, I've been out with my girlfriend last night, and I didn't get any sleep. And so we're all going to go into a bedroom and take a nap.
K.C. Potter: [00:04:30] This was at 7:30 in the morning. So everybody went into the bedroom to take a nap except for me because if you take a man's money, you give him a day's work. And I just couldn't do it. There was a broom in the hallway, and I picked it up and I started sweeping the hallway. This man came walking down the hallway. I didn't know he was, and it turned out he was the superintendent of housing.
K.C. Potter: [00:05:00] He said, Where is everybody? And I said, I don't know. Just exactly in that same way. I don't know. He started opening doors, and he would look, and there was a kid on the bed, and he would say, Come out of there. Then he'd open another door, and he'd say, Come out of there.
K.C. Potter: [00:05:30] So finally he was down to where the foreman was, and he said, Come out of there. So the foreman came out. Nobody had anything to say. And I said nothing. He looked at the foreman, and he said, You're fired. He said, Hit the road, you're fired. Then he turned to the rest of the crew, and he said, Mr. Potter is your new foreman.
K.C. Potter: [00:06:00] So the third day on the job, I was named foreman because I listened to my grandfather. I had a number of ... I was blessed with my family, I think I was really blessed. My father, he was the sort of fellow who wanted to make me into an independent person. So it's always, You decide, you figure this out. He was always giving me economic opportunities.
K.C. Potter: [00:06:30] Presented me with a Gravely garden tractor when I was in high school. I raised the biggest garden of anybody around, and I peddled it to the grocery stores. A half acre of strawberries. And we bought geese, and we put a little electric fence around it, and we put the geese in there to pull up the grass because they wouldn't bother the strawberries.
K.C. Potter: [00:07:00] Then I went bankrupt because I hired pickers and I sold the strawberries to a co-op, and I got two dollars and sixteen cents a crate. A crate of strawberries is a lot of strawberries. At that point, I gave up. I said to my neighbors, come and pick all the strawberries you want because I wasn't about to hire any more people. I was hiring kids, of course, my friends.
K.C. Potter: [00:07:30] I was paying them something like a quarter a little basket, to pick a basket. So anyway, I lost my shirt on that. When I decided to go to college, I picked Berea College because Berea College was founded in 1855 as a multiracial school. It was a Christian college, but not any denomination.
Kate Kunath: [00:08:00] Before we go there, to college, I want to talk about your family a little bit longer. I feel like if we get into college, we might never come back. So tell me your name again, where you were born, and the year that you were born.
K.C. Potter: My name's K.C. Potter, and I was born at Fallsburg, Kentucky, Lawrence County, not far from the West Virginia state line in a two-room log house built sort of over the creek, Blaine Creek. And that was on June the 30th, 1939.
Kate Kunath: [00:08:30] Great. And then tell me a bit more about your family. Your grandfather was very influential. Who were they? What did your parents do? Tell me a little bit about your family.
K.C. Potter: My father was a lineman for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company.
K.C. Potter: [00:09:00] And later in life, why, the C&O Railroad ran right near our house on our farm. What he did was he maintained these wires that you used to see along railroad tracks, because that was the way the signals operated, that was the way the telephone operated, and it took all of that communication to move those trains and not let them run into each other. He had 107 miles of territory.
K.C. Potter: [00:09:30] He was also a reader. The man read almost every night. He was constantly buying books and reading them and as a result, my sister and I, we've been readers all our lives because of his example. Of course, his name was Paul Potter, and he had done a little of everything in life.
K.C. Potter: [00:10:00] He had been one of those guys that freeload on the railroad and ride the boxcars and stuff. At one point, his cousin, not knowing who he was, arrested him, but then took him home to dinner after he discovered who he was because his cousin was a railroad detective.
K.C. Potter: [00:10:30] But where I grew up, you either worked in the coal mines, or you worked for the railroad that hauled the coal. One of those two things, other than service, that was the main employment. So that's what he did. When I was a baby, he operated a little filling station. But during World War II, he left that and went to work for the railroad company.
K.C. Potter: [00:11:00] My mother was from Martin County, Kentucky. And she was 20 years old when I was born. She was 16 when my sister was born. My sister's three years older than I am. My mother has the personality in the family. A jokester. She sent me after more stuff that didn't exist on April Fool's Day. I mean, every April Fool's Day, she had me doing something. And she would sneak up on me and do that every time.
K.C. Potter: [00:11:30] I came back from Daytona Beach, Florida, my senior trip. My first big experience outside the state. I snuck into the house because it was after midnight, I'd been on a bus 24 hours from Daytona Beach, Florida. Went to bed. Didn't want to wake the family up. The next morning at 7:00, somebody was beating me with a broom.
K.C. Potter: [00:12:00] It was my mother, she said, Get out of that bed, you're not going to lay around here all summer! I said, Mom, I just got home! That's the sort of personality she had. But she taught me to love, and she taught me the value of humor. She lived to be 78 years old and she was the patriarch of the family. My father died at 56, so I lost him the summer after I graduated from law school here at Vanderbilt.
K.C. Potter: [00:12:30] But both of them were wonderful parents. Never saw either one of them strike the other. They would argue. When I got ready to vote, my father made me go to the library and study both parties and make a decision. When I went to Berea, then my father was approached by his brother, who said, Don't let him go there.
K.C. Potter: [00:13:00] Because his brother was very prejudiced against black people. And my father never told me about it. Didn't learn about it until after he died. He just wanted me to be an independent person. My mother wanted me to have some humor about me. So I thought they did a great job, as far as I'm concerned.
Kate Kunath: Do you think that they knew you were a little different?
K.C. Potter: [00:13:30] Yes, I think they did. Nobody talked about that in those days. Not at all. I do remember my father wondering why I didn't have a girlfriend when I was in high school. I had an uncle. It was clear that he was gay. Never married, lived with his mother until she passed away, then lived with his sister, that sort of thing. And then ended up living with his niece. He was 90-some years old when he passed away.
K.C. Potter: [00:14:00] I had a first cousin who was openly gay back in the '60s and '70s. So it's in my family, so there's no question about it. So I think they probably thought. At least at some point, I must've been 30 years of age. Mother had this quilt made for my wedding night, and she took it out of the closet and said, Here. So yeah, I think she knew. Yeah. I didn't.
K.C. Potter: [00:14:30] I didn't know. I was still trying to date girls when I was 30. I couldn't understand why it was that I wasn't attracted to them. I was determined, I wanted a family. And then at some point, I said, none of this is going to work. The thing for you to do is just to shut up.
K.C. Potter: [00:15:00] And I did. I just bought that farm, and that was my getaway. And I would go out there on the weekends and be by myself and be myself. I wanted to be respected on this campus as a dean. That was my goal. So I was chaste until I was 47 years of age. So I lived a life alone. But I had my students.
Kate Kunath: And quite a legacy, too, that you've [crosstalk]
K.C. Potter: [00:15:30] Well, that stuff grows after you leave.
Kate Kunath: You are a farmer, so you've definitely planted some seeds here.
K.C. Potter: Yeah, yeah, I do like to farm.
Kate Kunath: So let's go back to your decision about college. And you wanted to go to this school, you wanted to go there because of its diversity.
K.C. Potter: [00:16:00] I wanted to go there because it suited me, yeah. I had to sign a statement in order to get in that college. I had to sign a statement that I would not discriminate based on race. I thought that was right, and I was ready to do that. So I signed it, and I've tried to live by it. Plus the school also has a work program. Every student at that school has to work every day.
K.C. Potter: [00:16:30] So you have some students who are secretary to a professor, you have some students who are milking cows, you have some students who are raising carrots to put in the boarding hall. Or like me, a student who worked in a creamery and was assistant cheese maker. I assisted the cheese maker in making cheddar cheese, and it's backbreaking work. Big, long vats.
K.C. Potter: [00:17:00] And you get that milk in there and you cook it and the butterfat keeps getting thicker and thicker, and you drain that milk off as you do that, the whey. Of course, that's a separate product that you sell, the college would sell the whey. Finally, it gets down and it's a slab about this big, this thick. It's about this long because it's halfway across the vat. And it's about this wide, about a foot wide.
K.C. Potter: [00:17:30] And your job is to go up and down this big long vat, and you turn those big slabs over, and they're cooking the whole time, and then you turn them back. You do that until it reaches a certain point and then you stop the heat, which is steam under the vat. Then you grind them up into pieces the size of your big finger.
K.C. Potter: [00:18:00] Then you pack them in these round metal containers that has a lid that will go all the way to the bottom of the container, and you stack them vertically in this tray, and then you've got these two big hydraulic rams that push them. And they stay there overnight, and then the next morning you take them out of there and put them in the wooden round things that you see cheese in, and you haul them back to the freezer where you keep them there at about 40 degrees for six months.
Kate Kunath: [00:18:30] That's awesome. Do you make cheese now?
K.C. Potter: No, I don't make any cheese now.
Kate Kunath: Were your parents racist?
K.C. Potter: Pardon?
Kate Kunath: Your parents, were they racist or were they not racist?
K.C. Potter: They were not racist.
Kate Kunath: Was that unusual?
K.C. Potter: [00:19:00] Yeah, I think so. In the family, yes. As a matter of fact, after my father passed away, my mother's son-in-law was in the house trailer business, the manufactured homes. And so he and she went in together, because we had land and he provided her with three trailers. This is in the 70s, the first thing that she did in this little eastern Kentucky community was integrate the neighborhood.
K.C. Potter: [00:19:30] She had an eighth grade education, but she looked through people all the time, and she could tell if they were good or if they're not good. She was an excellent judge of character, and this black couple showed up, and she said, Sure, I'll rent to you. So yeah, I don't think either one of them was, but in the family itself, probably so.
K.C. Potter: [00:20:00] Although, when I was growing up in eastern Kentucky, there was not a lot of black folks there to choose from. I remember when I was a child, at Fallsburg, there was a man by the name of Harry who was a meter reader for the electric company. He and I got along really well. He was a black man. That's the only black man I knew for many, many years growing up. So we were insulated a lot. There were black people around, but in my high school, I don't believe in my graduating class there was a single black person.
K.C. Potter: [00:20:30] It was an isolated place at that time. Obviously, that's no longer true. But the land was so poor that traditionally, the plantation-type people didn't go there. It was very, very mountainous. And I'm quite proud to be a hillbilly because hillbillies tend to be independent and that's what I've always valued is being able to stand on my own feet.
Kate Kunath: [00:21:00] We were talking about college, and I can't remember where we were.
K.C. Potter: I majored in History, Poli Sci and English. Started out to do it in English, but the faculty at that time mostly had Master's degrees, and they tended to read from their notes they made 25 years before, when they were ...
K.C. Potter: [00:21:30] I was taking history classes as my minor, and we had some professors who would do weird things in class. Just like, we go into class, professor starts writing stuff up on the board. And it's not right. So finally, one of us, timid raises their hand and says, Professor So- and-So, I think that this is ... And he would say, Tell me more, and he would tell him.
K.C. Potter: [00:22:00] And he would say, Class dismissed. You've learned your stuff. He would do crazy stuff like that, and I loved that. Then I had another professor and he was in his 70s, and he liked to hike. And so I became K.C. Potter, MG: Mountain Goat. Because I would go out with him on the weekends, and we would literally be lost. We would just go. And then he would find the grocery store and call his wife, and she would bring the car and pick us up.
K.C. Potter: [00:22:30] So the faculty made the difference of course, so I ended up majoring in History Poli Sci rather than in English. I've always sort of regretted that because I like English as a topic, as a subject, and so forth. And I'm somewhat of a grammar pooch even though I don't practice it myself. But if you write me something, I'll criticize you.
K.C. Potter: [00:23:00] So that's what I majored in. I continued to work for the college. I was a dorm advisor my last two years there in a freshman dorm. And graduated, was determined to go to the University of Kentucky Law School, and a professor from Vanderbilt Law School showed up up there. And this was before the interstate, so it's a long trip up there.
Kate Kunath: [00:23:30] One second. I can hear your shoes squeaking together, and I bet the microphone can too.
K.C. Potter: Okay, I won't do that anymore. I'm chastised. This professor had a PhD from the London School of Economics, and he had a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard University, and he was the world's nicest man. I was a little upset that I had to go and interview him because I did not want to go to Vanderbilt Law School.
K.C. Potter: [00:24:00] I wanted to go to University of Kentucky Law School. And that was when Vanderbilt was having a real big deal about a divinity student being expelled for protesting the lunch counter denials here in Nashville. And we at Berea would not go to a restaurant unless all Berea students could go to that restaurant.
K.C. Potter: [00:24:30] But the chairman of the history department insisted that I go, and I was in a bad mood, and so I got into an argument with this professor from Vanderbilt about whether a Red China should be admitted to the United Nations. And he loved it. And the result was, he told me, If you come up with the ten bucks to apply, I will watch your application. Nobody had ever told me that before. So I ended up coming to Vanderbilt Law School because of him. I guess I impressed him because I would argue with him.
Kate Kunath: [00:25:00] So tell me about the lunch counter thing. Berea, at that time, that was still in the '50s.
K.C. Potter: Yes. I graduated in '61, so I went there in '57.
Kate Kunath: Okay. Did you guys have the sense that you were very progressive at that time?
K.C. Potter: [00:25:30] I'm not sure that we ever applied that term. It was just Berea. It was so different from any other school anywhere that we knew about. Certainly in the mid-south. So I'm not sure that we would apply that. It was just a matter of the fact that our friends were black and white, and Ling Chung Pung was from Hong Kong. He lived down the hall.
K.C. Potter: [00:26:00] We had a man from India whose name now I can't remember. And he was a good friend. One of my good friends we called Camel Driver. He was from Iran. And he's now over in East Tennessee, and every once in a while I've heard from him, but I haven't heard from him in a while. I need to find out ... I've lost his address, to tell you the truth.
K.C. Potter: [00:26:30] That was the sort of setting because they recruited students from all over the world. This is a very powerful school. It has an endowment that is really big because it has been going since 1855. Cassius Marcellus Clay granted thousands of acres to this school, and so they have a full-time forester right now.
K.C. Potter: [00:27:00] It is a progressive school, there's no question. The motto of the school ... or it was on the seal, I'm not sure if you call it a motto. But anyway, on the seal of the school, was God hath made of one blood all nations of men, and they have now changed that to, all peoples of the earth. That is where they're coming from.
K.C. Potter: [00:27:30] They were founded by abolitionist minster John G. Fee from Antioch College in Ohio, I believe that's correct. I might be off on my college.
Kate Kunath: Were there any gay people at this college that were out or people that were aware of their sexuality?
K.C. Potter: [00:28:00] We were aware of some students whom we knew was in fact gay. When I was there, as a student. Nobody talked about it. But we were aware that there were certain students who were gay. And they were very secretive about it as well.
Kate Kunath: Did they not feel that everyone was included in all peoples of the earth?
K.C. Potter: I'm sure today they would say that. But if you had an idea of what it was like back then, you simply did not speak it for fear that you would be thought that way.
K.C. Potter: [00:28:30] Whether you were or not. That was the lock.
Kate Kunath: And what about the cousin who was openly gay? However he was treated, did that impact you?
K.C. Potter: The family did not send him away from the family. I'm proud of the family for that, because when I was working with students here on this campus, frequently I would have to help a student stay in school because the family would cut him off once it was announced that he was gay.
K.C. Potter: [00:29:00] But no, they treated him ... and when his father passed away, I went to the funeral, and he was seated with his partner on the front row with his mother. No one said anything, and everybody accepted his partner. But still, no one said anything.
Kate Kunath: [00:29:30] But you kind of knew that you were a little different, and you were watching how people were treating him. Were you making calculations in your mind about what you would and would not do?
K.C. Potter: I was struggling with myself, but I wasn't watching him, what he was doing. Or deciding that that's what I would do. But I was struggling with myself. My main thing was I was dealing with young people.
K.C. Potter: [00:30:00] The majority of my customers were young men, and one of the things about gays in those days was it was thought that they ruined young men, the older men. I was not about to even have any suspicion about anything like that and me.
K.C. Potter: [00:30:30] So that's why I was in my own pod. I mean, he was not working with young people. I was. And if I decided that this student had to leave school, the student had to leave school. That's an awesome power. It's within guidelines, of course. But every student who would be accused of anything ... and every Monday morning my office was full of people and we were waiting on the police reports from the weekend before.
K.C. Potter: [00:31:00] Every student had an option to have me hear and decide the case, or to go before my committee. I would be the chair, and then you'd have three faculty and three students from whatever school a student was from within the university. Ninety-nine and forty-four over one hundred percent of those students chose me because they trusted me, and I had to keep it that way.
Kate Kunath: [00:31:30] So let's get to your position at Vanderbilt. But okay, so you went to law school here at Vanderbilt. Tell me about that.
K.C. Potter: I was barely in the top third of my class. I knew that I would flunk out the first semester, especially after the upperclassmen got to me, telling me stories, that sort of thing. I was a dorm advisor all three years. That's the way I financed it.
K.C. Potter: [00:32:00] The last two years, I got room, board, and a small salary. I was not on Law Review. I was on the Moot Court Board, which was the second tier of students. I was always a little bit slow, I just worked hard. That's what I always said, and that's pretty much the case. I had to really work in order to get it. And I did.
K.C. Potter: [00:32:30] Then I graduated from law school, and I went to ... Oh, I was the dean of my fraternity while I was in law school. Then I went to work for a state supreme court justice as his law clerk, and I worked there for one year, and then I came back to Vanderbilt as an assistant dean of men. So law school was a good thing for me. I really enjoyed studying the law. But practice it, I don't think I would've been worth a damn.
Kate Kunath: [00:33:00] So you got hired here as ... tell me what the title is again?
K.C. Potter: I was hired as Assistant Dean of Men. At that point, Vanderbilt had a Dean of Men and a Dean of Women.
Kate Kunath: And what were you responsible for?
K.C. Potter: I was responsible for housing and discipline and the Vanderbilt Police Department.
Kate Kunath: [00:33:30] So under your charge, people could get in trouble for any number of things. And you and presumably a group, a board or something, a committee would decide the punishment?
K.C. Potter: As I say, the committee would be from that student's school. Like the College of Arts and Science, there'd be three arts and science professors, three arts and science students, and I would chair it and I would run it so that it was ... everybody's rights were seen.
K.C. Potter: [00:34:00] Once I wrote the charge out against the student, then the student decided: have the chair hear and decide the case alone, or have the full committee hear and decide the case.
Kate Kunath: Tell me what that was like when you started getting cases of kids that were getting caught for gay things, whatever those gay things were?
K.C. Potter: [00:34:30] Of gay things?
Kate Kunath: Yeah. Like, I'm sure they were getting in trouble for gay stuff. I don't know, kissing in front of a building, or ...
K.C. Potter: Oh, they get in trouble for all kinds of things. I wouldn't classify it as gay things, it was just ... they would get drunk. There was date rape, that's much more serious, real traumatic sort of thing for all the parties. There was theft.
K.C. Potter: [00:35:00] There was making too much noise, not letting other people study at night. There was beating up people. It could be anything that in any city of five thousand young people would happen. And what I would try to figure out, this is the first occasion that this has happened to this kid, is there a reason behind it.
K.C. Potter: [00:35:30] One case, for example, the third time he was reported for being nasty, mean, and hateful to his professor. So what is the problem? Why is it that you ... you know, you and I get along fine. Why is it that you can't get along with your ...? He said, I know that I am smart as everybody else but I can't make any good grades. Said, Have you ever been tested for dyslexia? No. My sister's that.
K.C. Potter: [00:36:00] This is an actual case I'm describing. Father's a doctor. I said, Okay, we're going to send you over to Psychological and Counseling Center, and we're going to see. Sure enough, he's in the School of Engineering, he's dyslexic. Nothing wrong with his mind in terms of intelligence. They have to teach him differently, he does well, you never see him again.
K.C. Potter: [00:36:30] That's what I was trying to do. Occasionally it was just, Now, the next time this happens, I'm going to write a letter and it's going to go to your parents, so you better straighten up and stop drinking too much. It could be serious enough on the first go-round that I would suspend them, but rare. Because you've got to give them chances, that sort of thing.
Kate Kunath: [00:37:00] There was a situation with some kids, I'm skipping ahead a little bit. I'm going to come back to where I was, but there was a situation with ... oh, where is this? David Van Dolfson.
K.C. Potter: Dutch.
Kate Kunath: Harassed by the football player, he was a gay kid. Do you remember that case and what happened?
K.C. Potter: [00:37:30] Oh, yeah, I remember it. Yeah.
Kate Kunath: Can you tell us about that?
K.C. Potter: Well, David was active in the Lambda Organization that met at my home. Apparently, he was in the bathroom one day and the guy came in and started pushing him and shoving him around. So David sits down and writes me a letter, and he sends a copy to somebody else and somebody else, but it's my problem.
K.C. Potter: [00:38:00] I decided to see what I could do here, maybe teach this kid a little something, that he doesn't ... I mean, I could have called him in and put him on probation for doing this. But I really was intrigued to do something that would really not cause him to be negative about it. So I invited the two guys to come and go with me to the university club, which rare a student gets into the university club.
K.C. Potter: [00:38:30] It's rare, because that's the faculty club. So I think both of them were somewhat puzzled by this turn of events. But anyway, I took them to lunch, and we chatted about everything in the world and about their grades and how ... this sort of thing.
K.C. Potter: [00:39:00] Then I said, Okay, now, we really do need to go back to my office because we've got to discuss some things. Sort of saying, Okay, here it comes. So I get them and I let them sit in front of my desk. I had these big wooden chairs, they go way up. Just big, straight chairs with the back going way up above your head. They were right in front of my desk. And so I got them in there and I said, Now, boys, I want you two guys to sit down and talk about this situation.
K.C. Potter: [00:39:30] I said, I'm going to be out front. And I would like to see you two boys come out of here friends. They did.
Kate Kunath: How long did it take?
K.C. Potter: I was gratified. Oh, five minutes. The guy said, I should never have done that. That was the end of it, I never had any more trouble out of the football player..
K.C. Potter: [00:40:00] David wrote to the coach as well. But David was really a fine young man. We'll talk about that in a minute, but he actually went before the Board of Trust and talked about the issues
Kate Kunath: Yeah, I want to get to that.
Kate Kunath: [00:40:30] Okay, so coming back to ... in the '80s, so '70s ... where were you in the '70s? When were you hired as the Dean of Men?
K.C. Potter: I was hired in 1965. So one year after law school, I came back as the Assistant Dean of Men. And that was when, of course, a year later, things began to heat up on college campuses. So I had my hands full.
Kate Kunath: [00:41:00] Yeah. Can you describe the climate of Vanderbilt in the mid-'60s?
K.C. Potter: The climate of Vanderbilt was very, very conservative. Most of the people here were from fairly wealthy families. The exceptions were the football team, the ROTC students, people on full scholarship, generally.
K.C. Potter: [00:41:30] So it was very conservative wealth, is what it amounted to. Not as diverse as it is, of course, today. As a matter of fact, when I came here as a student, there were no blacks in the undergraduate school. There was two blacks in my law class, so in the Law and Divinity and graduate schools, there were some black students, but not in the undergraduate.
K.C. Potter: [00:42:00] And the university then was just integrated undergraduate-wise the first year of my Law School. So when I came back as an Assistant Dean of Men, we were just then getting the first black students to come to Vanderbilt. It was a different atmosphere than I think most schools at that time, even.
Kate Kunath: What about civil rights activity on campus? Was that happening?
K.C. Potter: [00:42:30] Civil rights?
Kate Kunath: Civil rights movements, protests, demonstrations, was that happening on this campus?
K.C. Potter: Yes. As a matter of fact, by '67, we had our first barefooted hippie on the campus. He's now my neighbor out in Hickman County, he's a farmer out there. Nicest man in the world. And then it grew. It grew every year. We had people lying down in the street in front of the people who made the war material for the Vietnam War.
K.C. Potter: [00:43:00] We had people carried around the campus in caskets, protesting, so forth and so on. Every ROTC program, the Reviews and so forth, there were protesters there by 1969, '70.
K.C. Potter: [00:43:30] One such protest was, I was in the review for the Navy. I was seated in the audience. And the chief of police came over, and he said, These students are out of hand, and he said, There's some townspeople with them. There are some students who want to wash a flag of its sins in Vietnam. They have a washtub and they have a flag. He says, I can't control them. He said, You need to go over and see what you can do. He was enlisting help. And of course, the only way he can control people is arrest them.
K.C. Potter: [00:44:00] Well, I went over there, and the wife of a student whom I knew, a graduate student of philosophy, he's now a president of a college in Oregon. But the wife had the flag, and I said, Let me hold the flag. Because you have students who want to fight them on one side, and people had already been knocked down because there were some toughs there who were not Vanderbilt students.
K.C. Potter: [00:44:30] Anyway, she did not want to give me that flag, and her husband said, You can trust him. Hand him the flag, it'll be okay. So she begrudgingly handed me that flag, bless her heart. Anyway, I held the flag and we debated. And I had young Mr. Carr, who at that time was just out of law school. He later became the university attorney.
K.C. Potter: [00:45:00] But he was working for alumni and development that year, and I said, Can you go to the law school library and tell me whether or not it is illegal to wash a flag? He loped down the hill to the law school, and he loped back, and he said, Depends on the intent. So I said, Okay, so we don't have a legal ...
K.C. Potter: [00:45:30] In the meantime, there's these photographers from the local news, they're right in the middle of it. And I keep saying, Now, look, if you get hurt, it's not my fault. You stand back a little ways. You can take pictures all you want to, but just stand back. Anyway, finally I heard the drums, and the student ROTC was matching off the field. So the audience all began to leave except for this group around the flagpole.
K.C. Potter: [00:46:00] And so I said, I'll tell you want. I said, Instead of washing the flag, why don't we sprinkle it. And everybody looked around, and they said, Okay. Because they had lost their audience. So we made a Methodist out of it instead of a Baptist. I was due to speak to the faculty senate at that time.
K.C. Potter: [00:46:30] I had to go directly to the faculty senate meeting. And of all things, I had to speak about parking because I was the chair of the traffic committee, and we had decided that the faculty have to pay their fines. So I walked in, and they stopped what they were doing and asked me to come up and take the podium. So I went up and took the podium, and I started talking about the action of the traffic committee in deciding that the faculty really ought to pay their fines.
K.C. Potter: [00:47:00] Chancellor Heard, Alexander Heard was Chancellor at that point, and he was seated there, and he said, Now, K.C., nobody's going to listen to what you have to say about parking until you tell us what happened at the flagpole. So I announced that we made a Methodist out it instead of a Baptist, and it just brought down the house. Put them in a better mood for discussing the topic that they were upset about.
K.C. Potter: [00:47:30] So that's the sort of stuff that was going on. It didn't get out of hand on the Vanderbilt campus, primarily because the Chancellor at that point, he believed in the open forum. Therefore, any student group could invite a speaker to the campus, no matter how controversial. We had regularly meetings here with Stokely Carmichael, with Martin Luther King, with other people who were less noted than those two.
K.C. Potter: [00:48:00] Over and over again. We had a big meeting in the spring in which the student committee decided who to invite that year. And it attracted news people from all over the country because of that.
K.C. Potter: [00:48:30] Dr. Heard was a professor of political science, and he had established such a program at the University of North Carolina when he was an undergraduate student, and had gotten Franklin D. Roosevelt to come and speak. So that was in his blood, and we would have town meetings. I would have to be there to talk about anything in my area, answer any questions of any student, those sorts of things.
K.C. Potter: [00:49:00] We got through it because of the openness. We didn't have any buildings burned. We didn't have any deaths. But we had to stay on top of it. It was something to be an administrator on a campus at that time.
Kate Kunath: Wow, that's amazing. Do you have any distinctive, distinct memories of any speakers?
K.C. Potter: [00:49:30] Yes. Do you know who Stokely Carmichael is? Stokely Carmichael, of course, is quite a controversial fellow. He was coming off the stage and Martin Luther King was the next speaker. And Martin Luther King was walking up the steps, and Stokely over walks with his hand out, and I could tell from the expression on Martin Luther King's face, I do not want to shake this man's hand. That is the most distinct impression I have: those two men.
K.C. Potter: [00:50:00] I'll never forget that. Martin Luther King was just such a nice person, and Stokely was just such a rabid person. The night that Stokely spoke, later that night, all of the black section at TSU rioted and there were fires and all sorts of things. I was in a police car on the periphery, watching what was going on because I didn't know whether it was going to move over here.
K.C. Potter: [00:50:30] To bed at about five o'clock in the morning.
Kate Kunath: And they spoke on the same day.
K.C. Potter: Yes, yes. One followed the other here. But Stokely went on over. Next morning in the Nashville Banner, which was the evening paper in those years, there was a front-page editorial by the editor of that newspaper, who was a member of our Board of Trust.
K.C. Potter: [00:51:00] It said that, Riots in north Nashville have to be laid to the feet of Alexander Heard and his associates for bringing those speakers to this town. It was a controversial time.
Kate Kunath: [00:51:30] Okay, let's see. I want to get to the AIDS epidemic. What was happening here on campus at that time?
K.C. Potter: Well, everybody was still in the closet.
Kate Kunath: Would you open that up by saying, In the early '80s, at the beginning at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, or some way to introduce the [crosstalk 00:51:53] going to talk about.
K.C. Potter: Okay. The uh, when the AIDS-
ManSee Kong: Can you just watch here for-
K.C. Potter: Yeah, I just hit it, I noticed.
ManSee Kong: Thank you.
K.C. Potter: [00:52:00] I'm sorry. [crosstalk]. When the AIDS Epidemic hit, everybody was scared of course. I decided, along with Dr. John Greene, who was the director of the student health service, we decided together that we needed to install condom machines in the dormitory. We got five thousand young people here, living on campus. It's a residential campus. So we decided to go and see the Chancellor.
K.C. Potter: [00:52:30] The Chancellor at that time was Joe Wyatt. Joe was a fabulous person, and he was also a computer person. He brought the campus up-to-date on computers when he came here. First thing that happened was a computer showed up on my desk, and I didn't even know what it was, that sort of thing. Anyway, we decided to get the Head of the Infectious Diseases Section in the Vanderbilt Medical Center to go with us.
K.C. Potter: [00:53:00] His name's not coming to me right now, but he's very well known. He's consultant to ABC news now. He majored in drama in college, so we thought he would really be good with the Chancellor, and he was. So the three of us went to see the Chancellor, and the Chancellor was having none of it. No, absolutely not. So he turned us down.
K.C. Potter: [00:53:30] I had a friend who was a freshman in the College of Arts and Science, and she was from Seattle, Washington, and she was the daughter of a former student whom I had known and loved when she was a student here. This young lady came out to my farm and had fish flown all the way from Seattle, Washington to fix for me out at my farm. That's how close that we were getting. And we talked about the condom machines, and so I was all for it.
Kate Kunath: [00:54:00] It was her idea?
K.C. Potter: It was a lot of students' ideas, yeah, yeah.
Kate Kunath: But they had brought it to you?
K.C. Potter: Oh, sure. Well, I'm the Head of Housing. Anyway, when I got turned down then, the students wanted a meeting with the administration. Guess who the administration was that had to defend the Chancellor's decision. Me. I lost that friend. She transferred the next semester. She never spoke to me again. She thought I had just not been truthful with her.
K.C. Potter: [00:54:30] I've regretted that the rest of my life. But anyway, I had to go the other meeting, and I mean, it was vicious. And the only thing I could say to defend myself was, There are no studies which show that condom machines in the dormitories might keep one from getting AIDS. That's about as weak as you can get, but that's all I had.
K.C. Potter: [00:55:00] I couldn't say, Well, the Chancellor's the boss, and it's not my fault. I couldn't say that. I had to say, This is the university's position. And I did. Well, the Board of Trust, the Student Affairs Committee, they weren't quite happy with the Chancellor's decision. And so I was requested to go before the Student Affairs Committee and the Board of Trust and defend the Chancellor's decision.
K.C. Potter: [00:55:30] Guess who's in the audience. The Chancellor. So I'm telling this doctor, whom I respect so much, I'm telling him that there are no studies that show. And he would say, K.C. what is the problem? I wear gloves every day when I go into my office and I'm treating patients. What is the problem?
K.C. Potter: [00:56:00] And I would say, There are no studies. Well, it was clear that the Student Affairs Committee was having none of this decision. The Chancellor was sitting there, listening to all of this. And then he goes before the full board, and the chair of the Student Affairs Committee makes a report, and the same sorts of things are said in the full meeting. The Chancellor's position is eroded completely.
K.C. Potter: [00:56:30] They don't overturn him, they take no action. But then I get a call from Jeff Carr, university attorney. I'm sitting out at my farm on a Sunday night after all these Board of Trust meetings, drinking my Maker's Mark whiskey, and he says, How can we get the Chancellor off the hook? And I said, No problem. I said, I'll simply call all of my colleagues around Duke and SMU and New Orleans and Miami of Florida and Emory, because I already knew, all of them had already installed those machines.
K.C. Potter: [00:57:00] See what they're doing, and then on the basis of that he can ... that's exactly what I did. I had the report the next day on the associate provost's desk, and it went on up to the Chancellor and he changed his mind and we installed the condom machines.
K.C. Potter: [00:57:30] Chancellor Wyatt, in his defense, was a nice fellow. He was a good person. He and I liked each other, but he was extremely difficult to teach on these social issues. It was funny because in the meeting, I heard what was said about the whole thing. It was said by the Chancellor, Well, at least K.C. was on my side.
K.C. Potter: [00:58:00] And whoever was talking, I never did find out, said, K.C. was not on your side, he was just being your soldier. Anyway, we won the thing, we got what we needed. But I lost that one friendship and I've always regretted it.
Kate Kunath: She didn't see the long game.
K.C. Potter: [00:58:30] Pardon?
Kate Kunath: She didn't see the long game that you were playing.
K.C. Potter: Yep, yep.
Kate Kunath: I mean, I'm sure you don't have any studies that prove that condoms had any impact.
K.C. Potter: We never worried about it after that. Once we got the machines in, we had accomplished our goal, the students settled down, and everything was nice.
Kate Kunath: [00:59:00] So there was no more kind of protesting, was there-
K.C. Potter: No.
Kate Kunath: An infection rate happening on campus, was it a problem health-wise here or not?
K.C. Potter: I don't think so, no. I never knew of any students directly who had AIDS on the campus.
Kate Kunath: Did you know of any gay students at that time?
K.C. Potter: [00:59:30] At that time, knew some gay students, but did not have direct contact with them.
Kate Kunath: What about gay faculty?
K.C. Potter: Yeah, I knew who those were. Everybody knew who they were. It was about that time, though, that we began to reach out to the gay students. I began to reach out to the gay students.
Kate Kunath: In what ways? Tell me about that.
K.C. Potter: [01:00:00] There was an article that appeared in a campus publication, which indicated that, the story in it said, you have to come out of the park across the street here, Centennial Park. You had to come out of the park before dark, before the faggots come out. And there was three students, one law, one medicine, and one junior in the College of Arts and Science that wrote a letter to the student newspaper protesting that.
K.C. Potter: [01:00:30] The law student signed his name. He was a big guy, and he was very outspoken gay in law school.
Kate Kunath: [crosstalk] name?
K.C. Potter: One thing that you have to watch about old people is, ask them a name, they'll never remember it. So I can't quite ... it'll be in when I'm in my truck on my way back to my farm that I'll remember his name.
K.C. Potter: [01:01:00] Anyway, I went to the associate provost, to whom I reported at that time, and I said ... his name was Johan Madson, good man. Good fellow. Johan, I said, We need to reach out to these students. I said, I'm going to call them and make an appointment for lunch with them. And I want to discuss this issue.
K.C. Potter: [01:01:30] His first thing out of his mouth, says, Vanderbilt's not ready for this. And then he said, Okay, you do it. I mean, just in the second breath, he just said yeah, do it. That's the sort of fellow he is. And so I did. I called the law student up, and he was a little suspicious at first. I said, you bring those other two kids, and we're going to have lunch, and I want to talk about this issue.
K.C. Potter: [01:02:00] They all three showed up. It was right before the end of the school year, so it was too late to do anything that year, but I suggested that we form a support group for gay students. They all three agreed. I said, In the fall, then, as soon as you get back, you come and see me and we'll put an ad in the student newspaper and we'll start a group. So they agreed.
Kate Kunath: So this next fall, can you talk about this, tell me what year it was?
K.C. Potter: [01:02:30] It was 1986, '87. Something like that was the year that we started doing that, I think. Yeah, '86, '87. They got back when the school started, the law student had graduated, and he was in a law firm somewhere. The medical student had transferred. The other kid was a senior, and so I gave him 50 bucks and I said, Take the ad out and we'll start meeting.
K.C. Potter: [01:03:00] Ever how you want to arrange it, but here's 50 bucks. Make it a big ad. So we did, and we started meeting a couple graduate students off-campus at their apartment. Two young lesbians. Then tried it in the Divinity School, because the young ladies got tired of us. And I met with them. I would go and meet with them-
Kate Kunath: [01:03:30] How would somebody find out? I mean they would see the ad, but then there were extra layers of protection you guys had, tell me about that.
K.C. Potter: You write a note to this box number. And someone would then contact you and pick you up and take you to the meeting. We were afraid that people just wouldn't come to an open meeting.
K.C. Potter: [01:04:00] We had to get it started, and that's the way we did it. So yeah, you wrote this note, and we would go and check the box and see how many notes back we had, so forth. Finally ... you know I lived in one of these buildings, two doors down. That was my house. And so I suggested we use that. I said, Nobody's going to come over here and crash my house.
K.C. Potter: [01:04:30] No football players who are trying to show how big they are going to bother us, that sort of thing. We started to use my house, and it worked really superbly well. But the kids would be very secretive about getting into my house. Nobody knocked on my door when we had a meeting. They would just come. They wouldn't stand outside my door, because you've got twelve hundred students going by my front door.
K.C. Potter: [01:05:00] Going into Carmichael, or my side door. But anyway, we went along and had those meetings for quite a while. Then a young man by the name of Andy Dailey came along, and Andy was from a very conservative family. But he got into that organization after working in my office one summer.
K.C. Potter: [01:05:30] The year before, he had been very conservative, condemned gay people in the discussions in the dormitories because of religion and all this kind of stuff. Then he worked in my office as a student clerk for one summer, and joined the gay group the following fall and became the dynamo with the students. He was a real leader. He had students coming here from universities all over the south in a confab on the weekend.
K.C. Potter: [01:06:00] I would come in, and my house would stink like the dickens because they had slept everywhere, and eaten, and done all this kind of stuff. I had to bring a cleaning crew in to clean my house. But he was a real dynamo, and he really got the group going, and that's when we began to decide, we need to go to the Community Affairs Board. We need to be a regular student organization that the university helps to fund.
K.C. Potter: [01:06:30] We need to ask the Community Affairs Board to make a policy that protects gay people on the campus, faculty, staff, and students. That led, then, to the Community Affairs Board, of which Mr. Madson, my superior, was the chair, appointing me to be chair of a subcommittee to decide the question.
K.C. Potter: [01:07:00] I decided, along with the committee, that we would conduct hearings like we were a congressional committee over a period of a semester, once a week, and we would invite different speakers each week. Anyone was able to come could come, the idea being to educate the community. So that's what we did, and I recorded every single word that was said, and it's all in this little green book that's on this desk here.
K.C. Potter: [01:07:30] Everybody's testimony, and the recommendations of the subcommittee.
Kate Kunath: Including the dissenting-
K.C. Potter: The dissenting people.
Kate Kunath: Negative opinions.
K.C. Potter: Yes, the dissenting people. I was criticized for allowing the dissenting people to come and testify. But as I told these gay people, we were going to hear everything.
Kate Kunath: [01:08:00] Why did you think that was important?
K.C. Potter: Because I think it was important for the university to be able to say, We have examined this closely and thoroughly, and this is what we're going to do. I had no idea that the university would not accept this. I was just strong in my mind, the university is going to accept this because it's the right thing to do.
Kate Kunath: And what the ordinance exactly, or what was the thing that you were trying to change?
K.C. Potter: [01:08:30] I was trying to get language in the university's protection clause. They protect women, they protect black people, and people of color. I wanted something in there that protected gays, because at that point, anybody could be fired from Vanderbilt University by the superior. There was nothing in our language that indicated that a person was protected because of status.
K.C. Potter: [01:09:00] So that was the purpose of going through all of this. Excuse me just a moment.
Kate Kunath: Sure
K.C. Potter: [01:09:30] We decided that a part of our thing that we had to do was educational in nature.
Kate Kunath: Oh, wait, I'm sorry. It's the microphone.
K.C. Potter: I knew there was something that was missing.
Kate Kunath: Something was different.
K.C. Potter: Did I scoot back far, or what? No, the microphone was scooted forward. But we decided there was more than just meeting and deciding that we needed language in the protection clause.
K.C. Potter: [01:10:00] We needed to educate the community because the community was way behind other universities, even. Emory was leading the charge on this, and Duke was right behind them. I knew these things because I met once a year with the officials from Duke and Emory and those schools. As a matter of fact, they had come here and met at Vanderbilt, and I gave them a barbecue out at my farm. I knew these people and knew what they were doing.
K.C. Potter: [01:10:30] We were way behind, primarily because the emphasis at that point was on modernizing the electronic part of our university. Getting us up to speed on computers and those kinds of things, doing away with the electric typewriters. So we were behind, so we decided as a group that we would do this, and it was quite successful.
K.C. Potter: [01:11:00] Tempers would flare. There were certain gay people who came to every meeting and loved it, and was highly critical at times of what we were doing. And upset that we would listen to these people who are contrary. The Dean of the Divinity School came, and he said the Bible was a very important book, and he blessed it.
K.C. Potter: [01:11:30] But people should be treated as people. He said, we need to protect everybody, and so forth and so on. More about him in a minute. We had Professor John Lachs, who's a philosophy professor. I asked he and one of his colleagues to come and discuss the philosophical aspects of protecting everybody.
K.C. Potter: [01:12:00] He did a superb job, he and his associate who came. I had psychologists, psychiatrists. I had ministers, I had the chaplain. It was just anybody I could get to come and testify. And every word that was spoken in that meeting was recorded and published. Every single word.
Kate Kunath: [01:12:30] Are there recordings or video?
K.C. Potter: Yeah. They're on video, yeah. They're probably still somewhere around, but the written word is in this green document that I later submitted with the recommendations of the committee.
Kate Kunath: Hold on one second.
K.C. Potter: [01:13:00] With the recommendations of the committee. It went to my superior, the Associate Provost and then the Provost, and then went to the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate sat on it for a year. I was furious. Nothing I could do about it, it was in committee. Got one phone call, Come and talk about this. Went to the School of Engineering, where this professor was the chair of that particular thing, and told him what it was all about.
K.C. Potter: [01:13:30] He criticized the fact that it was such a thick document. I thought, This man has not read this. Anyway, the following year, my friend, Professor John Lachs was appointed the chair of the Faculty Senate. He was elected. I have an idea he ran for it just for this reason. He never said that, but I have a sneaking suspicion.
K.C. Potter: [01:14:00] Anyway, Professor Lachs called me up and said, The meeting is at such-and-such a time. The full Faculty Senate, I want you there. I want you to explain this thing to them. I want you to publish a summary that you can hand out at the door. This is going forward. So I went over there and I looked out at the audience, and there were some of my former law professors.
K.C. Potter: [01:14:30] There was the funniest taste in my mouth. But I plunged right in and went at them. It ended up the Faculty Senate, virtually unanimous, passed it. And it then went to the Chancellor to get his signature.
K.C. Potter: [01:15:00] Chancellor kept it all summer. Chancellor Joe Wyatt, bless his heart. Still like him today. Kept it all summer, and then at the Faculty Senate meeting in the fall, he announced that he had tabled it, that he was not certain about it, that there was a lot of law being discussed about what to do about the ... in other words, there was a lot of legal stuff going on in the country. And so he decided he would not act on it.
K.C. Potter: [01:15:30] Lots of protests. He thought it would be tabled, therefore it's okay. Lots of protests. Faculty up in arms, students up in arms, me quiet as a mouse. Didn't have anything to say to anybody.
Kate Kunath: Why?
K.C. Potter: Because I didn't know what to say.
Kate Kunath: Were you afraid [crosstalk] they were going to think you were gay?
K.C. Potter: [01:16:00] I said, I'm going to wait and see what happens here.
Kate Kunath: Were you afraid that they would think you were gay from all this?
K.C. Potter: No, no. That never occurred to me at that point, no. At that point, my reputation in the campus was very solid. This was 1991.
Kate Kunath: Nobody suspected that you were gay?
K.C. Potter: Nobody ever said. Nobody ever questioned it. Students were still meeting at my house. They were stronger than ever.
K.C. Potter: [01:16:30] At that point, I really didn't feel under any ... I had become more gay because of these kids. That's what it amounted to. I didn't give a damn at that point. These kids, they became my heroes all of a sudden. I just now thought of that. I didn't realize that until you just now asked that question, but that's what it was, yeah.
Kate Kunath: [01:17:00] You were having also sort of like a vicarious experience through them because you were still not out [crosstalk]?
K.C. Potter: And at that point, I would date somebody, too. Off campus. I started going to an older man's bar, where we would just go down. I would have two beers, and then I would switch to near beer because I had to drive home. I just made friends down there at that point, yeah.
K.C. Potter: [01:17:30] And what if somebody decides I'm gay? Well, they'd fire me. So what? I'd find a job somewhere. I was taking some courses then in the legal world, also. The kind of courses where you negotiate a settlement. I was learning all that stuff. Anyway-
Kate Kunath: [01:18:00] Yeah, you were telling us, we're still waiting for the signature.
K.C. Potter: Yeah. Anyway, the Board of Trust, the gentleman who was the Chair of the Board of Trust, he's a financier in Dallas, Texas. Good man. Decides that we need to discuss this in the Student Affairs Committee.
K.C. Potter: [01:18:30] So this time, I did not defend the Chancellor. There's no way I could defend the Chancellor. This time, I lined up the most healthy-looking, all-American boys and girls I could find who were gay to speak to the Student Affairs Committee and the Board of Trust. I didn't say a word. I was there. They were all there, David Van Dolfson was one of them.
K.C. Potter: [01:19:00] If I remember correctly, Idit Dobbs-Weinstein, who was professor of philosophy, also addressed them, and she's very effective. I am Idit Dobbs-Weinstein. That sort of thing. Loved Idit.
Kate Kunath: Who else can you remember that was there and addressed the committee?
K.C. Potter: Chancellor Wyatt was seated behind me.
Kate Kunath: As far as the students go.
K.C. Potter: [01:19:30] Andy was there. Andy, my hero that I talked about a minute ago who got ahold of the thing.
Kate Kunath: Andy Dailey.
K.C. Potter: Andy Dailey. Andy was there, I'm sure. Maybe there was a PhD student also spoke, I believe, I can't remember his name. Anyway, the chair of the committee got up after all the students had spoken, and he said, I have read this report. And he said, I have listened to what these fine young students have to say.
K.C. Potter: [01:20:00] And he said, I have changed my position 180 degrees. Well, the Chancellor said nothing. I heard nothing from behind me. Went to the full meeting of the Board the next day, same thing. Board backed up the Student Affairs Committee.
K.C. Potter: [01:20:30] Got home Sunday night, Jeff Carr calls, says How can we get him off the hook? I said, I'll call my friends ... So I called to make sure they were still on track and wrote a memorandum, and Jeff Carr began to put together some kind of language. He had a lot of problems, Jeff had a lot of problems with it legally for some reason. I never did understand it.
K.C. Potter: [01:21:00] But anyway, we came out with a statement that they were protected. After I retired, there were even more statements made protecting people who were heterosexual and who had partners and were not married and these kinds of things. So the university began to flow in that direction then.
K.C. Potter: [01:21:30] I decided to retire then. I may be getting ahead of you, but I've got to say this about the Chancellor. I decided to retire after I had an open heart surgery, and I'd gone out to my farm. This was in 1997, I went out to my farm, and I thought, 'You know, I can really get used to this.' And so the following December, I announced that I was going to retire.
K.C. Potter: [01:22:00] And when Chancellor Wyatt heard that I was going to retire, he remarked to his other vice-chancellors, or to his vice chancellors, I think we ought to make K.C. emeritus. No administrator, practically, has ever made emeritus. All the faculty on this campus are made emeritus, no administrators. There was two when I was made emeritus. And then the Chaplain was made emeritus. It was highly unusual for the Chancellor to say that.
K.C. Potter: [01:22:30] And they did. They gave me the title Emeritus Dean. Comes with a parking place, which I never try to find. I don't have time to register once a year, to come on campus once a year, that sort of thing. It's a title and so I'm grateful to Joe because Joe, I think, is a very decent human being, and he did great things for Vanderbilt University.
K.C. Potter: [01:23:00] I just wished he had listened to me more. I've had a good run here at Vanderbilt, and I'm proud of what I did. And I'm very proud of the friends that I made here. I am now in my eighteenth year, as of January the 12th, with my current and only partner.
K.C. Potter: [01:23:30] I met him six months after I retired, and we went to Hawaii for two and a half weeks. So we've been together ever since.
Kate Kunath: And how old is he?
K.C. Potter: He is 50 ... he was 56 on St Patrick's Day.
Kate Kunath: Nice. So, how did-
K.C. Potter: We're about twenty years apart.
Kate Kunath: [01:24:00] Tell me how you guys met, and what were some of your thoughts and feelings around that moment in time.
K.C. Potter: I was on a computer in a chat room, because after I retired, I started doing chat rooms just to talk to people. I'm out there on the farm all by myself, I'm talking to people on chat rooms. And he's in a chat room, and he put this notice up, he wants to meet older people.
K.C. Potter: [01:24:30] He's just divorced. He and his wife lived together for two, three years. He, thinking that it would fix his feelings toward older men, and it didn't. And she was well aware of the experiment. Anyway, he wanted to meet some older men. I said, well I've got all of these friends down there at the bar I could introduce him to. Not ever thinking that I was going to get a partner.
K.C. Potter: [01:25:00] That was the last thing in my mind, I was just, I'll be happy to help you out. We'll meet and have lunch downtown, and then I can introduce you to some of my friends in this bar. So we met down at the restaurant, downtown Nashville several days later. I was seated next to the cash register. And this man walks in, he's got on black cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, and he's six foot tall, six foot one.
K.C. Potter: [01:25:30] I said, No, that's not him. He was a young man, No, that's not him. Looked away, and then somebody said, Are you Mr. Potter? And I turned around and it's him. We had lunch and the hostess took us back by the food, and she pointed out everything that they had on the line, you could just go and eat all you want. She said, pork chops. And pork chops was the last word I remember hearing.
K.C. Potter: [01:26:00] Anyway, there was a bookstore on Charlotte that sold a lot of books and jewelry, gay jewelry. I took him down there, he'd never been to one of those places before. So I took him down there after we ate lunch, and I bought him a many-colored ring, which he still has. I think I paid five dollars for it.
K.C. Potter: [01:26:30] We ended up then, one of my former students had bought out a chain of tire stores in Hawaii. He'd been asking me for six months that he would fly me out there and I could stay as long as I wanted to with him. He called right about that time, and said, Okay, your time is up. You asked for six months before you did anything.
K.C. Potter: [01:27:00] So I said, Well, can I bring this young man with me? And he said, Bring whoever you want. Of course, John's not gay. He was just a tire tycoon that I had allowed to start his business in one of these buildings in my basement when he was a student. So, anyway-
Kate Kunath: [01:27:30] Go ahead and take a sip, [crosstalk] a sip. [inaudible]
K.C. Potter: Anyway-
Kate Kunath: Is the bottle [inaudible]?
ManSee Kong: No, it's not.
K.C. Potter: Anyway, we went to Hawaii and stayed two and a half weeks over in one of his tire stores. So at 6:30 in the morning, you'd hear this. But we had a ball, he gave us a car to drive. We went everywhere. And then brought us back a year or two later for another stay. And this time he put us up in one of those big, Hawaiian hotels.
K.C. Potter: [01:28:00] Because he had some deal with them that he supplied to tires to all their vehicles, and therefore anybody that he brought in could stay free in the hotel. We went twice to Hawaii. We've been on almost every island in Hawaii. I was not on the island where the people live who were, what do you ... they had the disease of the skin, I forget now what you call it.
K.C. Potter: [01:28:30] But there's one island set aside for those people back in the '30s and '20s, and Richard's been to that island. He went to all of them. But I didn't go to that particular one. But we had a big time. John's always been a good friend, he's moved back here now in Nashville and works for the medical center here.
Kate Kunath: [01:29:00] So you guys were coming out, you basically came out together because-
K.C. Potter: Yeah, we came out together. We sat down and wrote a letter a month after we met and sent it to both our families. My family accepted it with no problem. And when they established the gay center here with my name on it, my family came to the ceremonies and so forth. Richard's family, he's Portuguese, and some of his family did not welcome us. But most of his family did.
Kate Kunath: [01:29:30] That's wonderful. I'm very happy for you. Sounds like a really nice relationship that you deserve after all this time.
K.C. Potter: Thank you.
Kate Kunath: [01:30:00] I ... one second. There were some people that you wanted to talk about, John Laches [crosstalk] a lot. You wanted to talk about Obama?
K.C. Potter: Yeah, well, I admire Obama because for a year, he studied this issue of gay marriage. As far as I could tell, he didn't need to make a statement at all. He was in his second term. There was no real reason for him to make a decision, but he did. He made a decision because he's the leader.
K.C. Potter: [01:30:30] That's my feeling. And that's what he should have done. And so I greatly admire that man. I still have an Obama sticker on the back of my truck, as you probably noticed. Any time people want to criticize Obama, it just flies all over me because he did the best he could with what he had and the Republicans just didn't cooperate like they should have.
K.C. Potter: [01:31:00] When someone is elected president, then we should try to cooperate. Now, they're trying to cooperate with Trump. I think they're having difficulty doing that, even. But with Obama, he was a good person. He was like Harry Truman, was a good person. He's one of my heroes, Harry Truman is. Give Them Hell Harry.
K.C. Potter: [01:31:30] You know exactly where he stood on everything. That's the kind of leadership we need and that's why I admire him so. The other person that I admire greatly is my Associate Dean at Vanderbilt. He worked here for 40 years. I hired him as a dorm advisor when he was a divinity student.
Kate Kunath: What's his name?
K.C. Potter: [01:32:00] Stephen Caldwell. Steve got his degree in divinity, and I hired him as my assistant, and he stayed on almost 20 years after I left. He is a United Methodist minister. He does not have a church, and nor does he want one. His ministry is dealing with students' needs and problems. He is an expert at it.
K.C. Potter: [01:32:30] Any time a student was in a car crash, any time a student committed suicide, any time a student was in a crisis of any kind, Steve Caldwell was there, trying to help that student. Just as solid as he could be. His wife, a teacher in the metro school system. And he a minister as an Associate Dean. Lived on the campus, raised his family here on the campus in one of these buildings, these little buildings.
K.C. Potter: [01:33:00] He's now retired and he and I get together, and his wife and I and some other friends get together about once a month for dinner and those kinds of things. But just as solid as he can be. Will not back down. Came to my bedside when I had my heart operation, got in to see me because he told the nurse that he was my spiritual advisor.
Kate Kunath: [01:33:30] One second. I don't know, but this light just went out because [inaudible].
Kate Kunath: [01:34:00] There was an incident on campus with a student suicide that affected you greatly during that. Will you tell me about him and that situation?
K.C. Potter: The young man had difficulty with his roommate. And the roommate came and told me that he needed to be changed to another room. Because he said, My roommate is gay,
K.C. Potter: [01:34:30] And he said, I can't deal with that. I don't mean to hurt him, but I need to move away. He said, I don't want anything to happen to my roommate. Well, there was ... so I authorized the room change. That same student, a year or so later ... I knew that student.
K.C. Potter: [01:35:00] I'd never discussed the fact that he was allegedly gay. But my office at that time was down this row here, right next to Carmichael Tower Number One. There's one, two, three, four, these big twelve-story towers. So a student ran into my office, and he said, Someone has jumped out of Tower Three.
K.C. Potter: [01:35:30] I ran to Tower Three. And sure enough, there was this student lying on the sidewalk. He had jumped from the tenth floor. The color was gone in his eyes, and there was no pulse. About that time, the police arrived with blankets to put over him. And the ambulance had been called.
K.C. Potter: [01:36:00] So I went up to his room, and there was pills, medications from psychiatrists where they had been treating him and probably been trying to change him. That was some years ago. There were some girls who came up to me afterwards and were heartbroken because he wanted to date them and he was trying. They turned him down. Not for that reason, but for whatever reason, and now they felt very guilty about it.
K.C. Potter: [01:36:30] Anyway, that really continued to bother me over the years. Just ... I guess we must have had ten or fifteen deaths in the student population, in the undergraduate primarily, while I was here in the thirty-some years I was here. But that one just really continued to bug me.
K.C. Potter: [01:37:00] That was one of the reasons I went and said to my superior that we're going to look into this, and we're going to see what these kids have to say and see if we can do anything for them.
Kate Kunath: What year was that?
K.C. Potter: That was in the late '60s, when it originally happened. I knew that secret.
K.C. Potter: [01:37:30] Nobody else ever mentioned that. I didn't tell anybody, I didn't tell the parents that he was gay. I didn't do that. It was just ... it was something that I knew was probably true, and was probably the reason he jumped out of the tower. He was not the first student to jump out of those towers, and unhappily, I was in a car coming down West End Avenue and saw the student jump out of the tower.
K.C. Potter: [01:38:00] It's a horrible thing to happen. But I never knew what caused the first student to do it. But that student, I couldn't get away from the idea that it was because he was gay and he was struggling and he just couldn't see any way out.
Kate Kunath: [01:38:30] Did you ever have feelings of ... like you needed to change or that you needed to fix it? And what did you do about it?
K.C. Potter: What do you mean?
Kate Kunath: Did you ever feel like you needed to fix yourself?
K.C. Potter: Oh, myself?
Kate Kunath: Yeah.
K.C. Potter: Well, after struggling with it until I was 30, I just didn't see any way out. I just didn't see that I was going to fix it any way. No.
K.C. Potter: [01:39:00] At that point, I understood that I was not going to be the little hetero fellow that I wanted to be. I understood that at that point. Wat I did was, I wanted this to work with these students more than anything else, and that was my number one priority. So I just dismissed it from myself.
Kate Kunath: [01:39:30] After you retired and met Richard, and came out, how well were you received back at the university with professors that you had known all this time? What was that like? Did they-
K.C. Potter: At that point my boss said, You know, I really always knew you must be gay. I think, at that point, I really didn't give a damn.
K.C. Potter: [01:40:00] Most of the people at that point were better-educated about it. Will and Grace had come on here once again. And we had gone through all of this controversy about it. At that point, Well, he must be gay, because he doesn't have a wife, does he? So at that point, I just didn't really care. I was invited ... I used to be invited to a lot more things back when all my former people who worked with me were here.
K.C. Potter: [01:40:30] Most of them have retired by now, see. But they all accepted Richard, no problem. Richard is very gregarious. He hugs you the minute he meets you. Nobody can say nay to him. He's that kind of personality, he's just jumping up and down to meet you and love you.
Kate Kunath: [01:41:00] That's awesome. Did people come out to you after that? Any professors that you worked with, or anyone like-
K.C. Potter: They were more open about their being out, but I already knew. And they knew that I knew and all that kind of stuff.
K.C. Potter: [01:41:30] I did this one thing for the Community Foundation, which was to sort of like we're doing here, it was an interview whereby I talked about what it was like to be in the closet in the '70s on the campus. I had this one English professor that I desperately ... I mean he was out at this point and retired, and I wanted him to do the same thing. He just couldn't bring himself to be taped about it.
K.C. Potter: [01:42:00] And he was much more out than most people were, but I couldn't get him to do it. But my contact with the Vanderbilt community was pretty much cut off when I retired, and so functions in my own office, where I had been the boss, anything that they had, they'd invite me to that.
K.C. Potter: [01:42:30] But not much. I would go to retirement parties, primarily, is where I'd be invited.
Kate Kunath: Tell me about when this center started and when it was inaugurated. Tell me how this place started and how it's named after you.
K.C. Potter: [01:43:00] Well, it was in 2008, I think, that university decided that they wanted a regular center. They were meeting in this converted garage over near the university club. And I had gone to one meeting over there, the alumni meeting, and I met a number of alumni who were gay some time after I retired, I don't remember when it was. But Sandy Stahl, who was my Associate Dean for Fraternities and Sororities when I was working here, I had hired her to do that.
K.C. Potter: [01:43:30] She had a PhD in Russian Languages and Literature, and she had three boys that she was raising, and I talked her into being the Dean of Fraternities and Sororities because she said, Well, now I've got to be home when that school bus runs, and I said, You'll be home at 3:00 when that bus runs. No problem. You just be the Dean in charge of fraternities and sororities. And at first they called her that woman, the boys did. But a year later, they couldn't have liked her more. I mean, they just loved her.
K.C. Potter: [01:44:00] But anyway, she also was working and teaching courses with the women's center after I left. She also then became the supervisor of this office, the gay center. And I don't know exactly how it all happened, but I was contacted by her and by the new director of the center that was coming in.
K.C. Potter: [01:44:30] Said that they wanted to name it for me, and Steve Caldwell had called me a year before that and said, Would you agree that they could call it? I said, Well, you know, no problem with me. I have an idea that my old staff, the one that I had left in place, that they got this name up to be the new gay center.
K.C. Potter: [01:45:00] I agreed and they set a time to dedicate it, and I came, and the Chancellor came and spoke. I talked about this young student, which had been on my conscience for many years. And I recognized publicly for the first time in a large crowd, I recognized my partner as being the love of my life.
K.C. Potter: [01:45:30] He was shocked because he was out there taking pictures of me. So I shocked him by introducing him to the crowd. So they dedicated the thing, and it's been going ever since. They're on their second director here. As you can tell with the students hanging around between classes, doing their homework and stuff, it's quite popular. It's quite popular with students.
K.C. Potter: [01:46:00] Gives the students a place, even though they might not run over here their freshman year, they know it's here and they'll eventually come. I'm honored by it. I'm honored.
Kate Kunath: So like today, for instance, you came back for a little visit. How is it to be received back in this building?
K.C. Potter: [01:46:30] As I say, sometimes they're shocked because they think I'm dead. I think most of them now realize that, the word's out that I'm still alive. But it always renews me to see them sitting here. I think of the door all of a sudden ... there's a knock at the door at my house, and I open the door, and there's this little tiny boy standing there.
K.C. Potter: [01:47:00] He's sure he's in the wrong place, because here's this big, powerful, ugly old man who's the one who kicks you out of school, standing in the doorway. And he starts to turn and make his apologies, and I say, You're in the right place, come on in. That little fella, I remember well. He works with people with AIDS and diseases, the older people. He's a doctor now.
Kate Kunath: [01:47:30] That's great. There was in that story about the history of Lambda, they were saying that you would just get the biggest kick out of watching the kids. You'd sit the corner with your Maker's Mark.
K.C. Potter: [01:48:00] That was not quite accurate. I always served Pepsi, and 7 Up, and the other soft drinks. I would take a drink of Maker's Mark after the meeting was over, but not while I was having a student meeting. That was just not done. But I never have questioned that, because I think it's sort of neat to ... that was in that kid's memory, Paul. That was in Paul's memory that I would be sitting there drinking Maker's Mark, but never during the meeting.
K.C. Potter: [01:48:30] I just wouldn't do that. I don't mind drinking in front of students, but not when you're in a meeting like that. Particularly since they had to drink soft drinks, they weren't old enough. So anyway, Paul Feeney got that a little mixed up, but that's his memory and we'll let him have it.
Kate Kunath: [01:49:00] Okay, we have four questions that we ask everyone at the end of an interview. For kids or adults that want to come out, what kind of advice do you have for them?
ManSee Kong: Before you answer, if you want to take a sip of water-
K.C. Potter: Sorry. No, no.
ManSee Kong: That's okay.
K.C. Potter: Who have kids who want to come out?
Kate Kunath: No, any adult or kid-
K.C. Potter: You just gotta, at this point in time-
Kate Kunath: [01:49:30] Hold on, hold on, hold on. Because I'm talking and we're [crosstalk 01:49:50]. So, go ahead.
K.C. Potter: Alright. You want me to answer?
Kate Kunath: Yeah.
K.C. Potter: At this point in time, you just have to lower your head and say, if this is going to cause problems for somebody, then it's going to problems for somebody. But it's me that it's necessary for. And so therefore, come out.
K.C. Potter: [01:50:00] We now have a pastor in Centerville of this new church. His son came out, he's in high school. He was associate pastor of a Church of Christ in Centerville. The Church of Christ would not accept the son. The son's grandfather, who's Church of Christ, would not accept the son.
K.C. Potter: [01:50:30] The associate pastor withdrew from the Church of Christ. He rented a building, and he called it Hope Church in Centerville. Centerville's two thousand people. Heavily Church of Christ, heavily. That church is growing by leaps and bounds. Gay people are going to that church. Black people are going to that church. Everybody is invited.
K.C. Potter: [01:51:00] And they're doing good work with people who are next to homeless. There's no real homeless people out in Centerville, Tennessee. But they're living in circumstances that are horrible. This man is turning things around in that little town, and that's what everybody needs to start doing. My own parties at my farm with Richard, we invite everybody.
K.C. Potter: [01:51:30] There are people of color, there are people who are gay, there are 80-year-old people who used to make whiskey for a living. There are Church of Christers. It's just a community. You're welcome. Richard and I are accepted in that community. There's a picture of me and Richard, taken right after we met, that's right by our front door as you go out, that's sort of thing.
K.C. Potter: [01:52:00] Not our problem. So my advice to anybody who's ... to encourage your kids to come out as soon as possible. I was at a fraternity meeting, I'm a member of the Pi K A fraternity. Made a member after I retired here. But anyway, I was at this dinner last October, and this kid, one of the officers of the ... active student, engineering student, sat at my table.
K.C. Potter: [01:52:30] They were setting them around with the different alumni, one per table, that sort of thing. He said, I've been out since I was in high school. He wanted to meet me because he knew this name here on this building, and therefore he wanted to sit at my table, but he wanted me to know that he came out when he was in high school and he's completely out now. He's also a pilot, so he flew out to my farm one day. It's a different world, you just got to take the bull by the horns and move.
Kate Kunath: [01:53:00] Are you and Richard married?
K.C. Potter: No, we're not.
Kate Kunath: Are you going to be married?
K.C. Potter: Probably. But right at this point, for reasons that I'd soon not discuss, we're not married.
K.C. Potter: [01:53:30] Right now, he's only in my will for that farm. But at some point, I will make that ... we will be married, and I will make that a joint tenancy so that there's no way somebody will ever take that farm away from him.
Kate Kunath: I would like to go to that party. I'm sure it would be really fun.
K.C. Potter: Oh, I'm sure.
Kate Kunath: Party of the century.
Kate Kunath: [01:54:00] The second of the last for questions. Where did it go? What is your hope for the future?
K.C. Potter: My hope for the future is that the young people of this country will become more and more vocal, and more and more interested in voting and running this country.
K.C. Potter: [01:54:30] I see those signs right now, and it just makes chills run up and down my back because that's our only hope for this country at this point, I think, is that the young people will step in and stop being a negative government. Accepting everybody, and providing for everybody. That's my hope.
Kate Kunath: [01:55:00] That's a good hope. Why is it important for you to tell your story?
K.C. Potter: Didn't know why. I got this call from this young lady who was a junior in the College of Arts and Science three years ago. Said she wanted to interview me for a story.
K.C. Potter: [01:55:30] She was with the Vanderbilt newspaper, The Hustler. I said, I've been retired 17 years, why would you want to come? She said, Well, we think it's an important story. She ended up being a good buddy, I still stay up with her. She's out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She's now a newspaper lady.
K.C. Potter: [01:56:00] Anyway, I think the story being told about the struggle is important. In terms of allowing students, current students to see that it wasn't always that way, and that we could lose it again. And I think probably that's the purpose of what you're doing today is that establishing this history is important so that it can't be erased. It can't be a Holocaust situation. So that's my thought.
Kate Kunath: [01:56:30] Great. And then, lastly, what do you think is the importance of this project, OUTWORDS? And if you don't mind using the word OUTWORDS in your answer, we would appreciate it.
K.C. Potter: [01:57:00] Well, I think that's precisely what OUTWORDS is about is preserving our history. We all saw what happened to the Jews in Germany. We have struggled from being called a faggot, a piece of material in a fire because people were being burned at the stake. I personally have struggled through never being able to discuss the issue. I was never threatened with the stake, but it can always go back to that.
K.C. Potter: [01:57:30] There are people in our government right now who would like that. So I think the importance of this organization is severe. The importance is severe. We need to do this, and I understand you're up to 120 people that you've recorded for this thing. I think that's extremely important.
Kate Kunath: [01:58:00] Great. Thank you. That concludes our interview. [crosstalk 01:58:16] Unless there's something else that you want to add.
K.C. Potter: No, I think we've covered everything. I'm delighted that I was asked. And I feel it's very important, and I am shocked that I was selected.
K.C. Potter: [01:58:30] Because I'm so far from Los Angeles, California that I had no idea that anybody knew about me, that sort of thing. So I was quite surprised to get the question.
Kate Kunath: Well, your perspective is so unique. And we're really trying to get people in all corners of the country, because the issues intersect in different ways everywhere, and everyone's story is different.
K.C. Potter: [01:59:00] How'd you get involved in this?
Kate Kunath: I, I am-

Interviewed by: Kate Kunath
Camera: ManSee Kong
Date: March 27, 2018
Location: K.C. Potter Center, Nashville, TN