Hyatt Hotels: Please reconsider your action on the Skywalk Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri

Mr. Farley Kern
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mr. Kern,

Thirty years after the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalks collapsed, I have learned that the Hyatt Hotel Corporation will not contribute to a memorial for the victims of the worst structural failure in U.S. history. “We are disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to continue to operate the hotel and as such, Hyatt will not be making a donation to the Skywalk Memorial,” said a letter dated Nov. 30 from Rusty Macy, general manager of the former Hyatt Regency Crown Center.

The scene on July 18, 1981, the day after the collapse of the skywalks at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City. The collapse killed 114 people. Photo: Kansas City Star

The disaster killed 114 guests and employees at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City and injured more than 200 others.

I suspect the Hyatt Hotel Corporation has made millions of dollars operating the hotel during the past three decades.  It should donate a small portion of those profits to the Skywalk Memorial.

I admit, I do take this personally. I covered the tragedy that terrible night as a reporter. I saw first hand the suffering that took place. The memory haunts me and  many others to this day.

I implore the Hyatt Hotel Corporation to reconsider its action; For the sake of your company’s credibility and out of respect for the victim’s of the Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse.

The skywalk collapse was the worst structural failure in U.S. history. Photo: Kansas City Star

Where is the Hyatt’s corporate responsibility? Your company is in the hospitality business. Why is it inhospitable to the memories of the hotel guests and employees who died in your hotel? Where is your corporation’s sense of human decency?

Because of the Hyatt Hotel Corporation’s action, I must now boycott Hyatt properties as an act of conscience dedicated to the memories of the innocent men, women and children who died and were injured in the Hyatt Regency Hotel collapse.

Please reconsider this decision. Honor and help memorialize those Hyatt Regency Hotel guests and employees who died at your property 30 years ago.

Bernard Rogers McCoy
Lincoln, Nebraska

About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm a professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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