‘If Purdue can do this then hopefully some other people in the community can do this too with scholarships and jobs…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Purdue University announced that its Homecoming court is now gender-neutral, breaking from the historical tradition of crowning a king and queen.
The school’s Spirits and Traditions committee said the decision was part of a student-driven effort. Now, instead of voting for a male candidate and a female candidate, students can vote for whoever they think should be Homecoming “royalty.”
The director of the committee John Brock said considering female candidates who were more qualified than males was the fair option.
“The current candidates we chose had better resumes, better applications and better represented Purdue, so we wanted to give it to them rather than giving it to two other male candidates just because they’re male,” he said, according to the Journal-Courier.
Maci Tetrick, one of Purdue’s candidates, said she sees the change as a step in the right direction for overarching gender equality.
“If Purdue can do this then hopefully some other people in the community can do this too with scholarships and jobs,” she said.
Student Adam Cullers said having a gender-neutral court makes Purdue a more diverse campus.
“Not only does it open opportunities who are non-binary or third gender, but also for more diverse students,” he said.
Cullers said international and minority students see this as an opportunity as well.
“I think they’re more excited about this now because they actually see opportunities for them to be recognized for who they are and not what they are,” he said.
Purdue isn’t the first school to break from the Homecoming tradition. Penn State University announced in April that it would do away with the “king” and “queen” titles to better promote inclusivity and diversity.
“Our goal is to identify the best students to represent Penn State without regard to their gender, gender identity or gender expression,” Ally Berdan, director of the homecoming committee, said.