MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Say goodbye to the titles of King and Queen at the University of Minnesota. The U announced the change to its Homecoming Court this year in an effort to make it more gender inclusive. Ten students selected to the court will now be called Royalty.
Fanfare and Gopher pride surround Homecoming festivities each year. Equally as important in 2017: inclusivity.
“We had noticed that other schools had made a change to make their Homecoming Court more gender neutral,” Marissa Suitor, Student Advisor for Events and Activities, said.
She challenged the student coordinators to do the same. The result: Homecoming Court comprised of Royals rather than King and Queen.
“Royal was a nice way to sum up exactly what we’re looking for for our Royalty Court. They’re ambassadors of spirit for the University of Minnesota. It’s a really great opportunity and it has nothing to do with gender,” Devin Graf said.
Instead of five males and five females selected to the court, this year the 10 can be comprised of any combination.
“It can be 10 boys, 10 girls, 10 non-binary students, 10 transgender students. Any combination can work,” Graf said.
The legacy of Homecoming Kings and Queens at the U dates back to 1931 when Marion Sanders was crowned the first Queen. Some on social media wished the court would stay traditional, calling the change:
“This politically correct bull**** is getting out of hand.”
And “Are you kidding me? Why do we feel the need to change every tradition?”
Students want to make Homecoming accessible and welcoming to all students.
“Our student body is made up of very diverse population that shouldn’t be limited by gender identity and abolishing those categories I think makes a good statement about how we can represent our community,” Graf said.
Students have until March 31 to apply to be Royalty. The Homecoming Court will be selected by mid-April.