Homecoming Royalty Sees Change This Year

(Photo Archive from The Daily Utah Chronicle)

(Photo Archive from The Daily Utah Chronicle)

(Photo Archive from The Daily Utah Chronicle)
(Photo Archive from The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 
Florence Fernandez, senior class president, studied the ASUU Constitution and saw the wording for Homecoming royalty classified nominations by two genders: men and women.
Fernandez decided to do some research and found that many schools moved away from gender-specific titles like king and queen for Homecoming altogether. She decided to do the same at the U. She said students should be recognized because of their academic success and community outreach, not gender.
“It is not just for one specific type of student,” Fernandez said. “Everyone is invited; everyone has a chance to participate.”
Now, after an application process, this year’s Homecoming court is official. The five royalty members are: Devin Price, Oliver Anderson, Lacey Despain, MacLane Taggert and Chas Foote.
This is not the first time homecoming royalty has changed at the U. In 1988, ASUU got rid of the beauty pageant aspect of the selection process. Instead of the female participants having to put on dresses, swimsuits or demonstrate talents, they were interviewed and asked questions like, “What are your personal goals and hobbies?”
The U still had a Homecoming queen in 1988, though. According to an archived article of The Daily Utah Chronicle, Janice Ugaki was crowned that year and said she was slightly embarrassing at first to be given the title.
“When my friends found out they were calling me ‘Queenie,’ but they were actually supportive,” she said in the article.
ASUU is still attempting to change homecoming royalty 26 years later. Fernandez said the aim is to make the process more inclusive and ultimately gender neutral. This year’s winners show a definite change.
Oliver Anderson, a senior in human development and family studies, said Homecoming royalty is an integral tradition of the week, but this year’s system recognized students who have given back to the community.
“It’s kind of a way to inspire students and say ‘hey I was a student, that came to the U similar to your story, and look how far I have gotten’ by getting involved and being engaged,” he said. “It’s a chance to kind of empower students to come together and I think that’s really cool.”
Each student on the Court received a $1,000 scholarship paid for by the Alumni Association, and the court will participate in multiple events during Homecoming Week. Lacey Despain said the process of being voted into the court was the most rewarding part.
“The interview was really rewarding, and then just getting all the support from voting was just a really an awesome experience for me,” she said. “When I got the call that I made the court, it just really was the icing on top of a really great experience.”
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(Photo by Chris Samuels)
(Photo by Chris Samuels)