Wayne State will no longer have a homecoming king or queen in order to promote gender inclusiveness.
The university will now offer students to be a part of a homecoming court where each member will represent the university as ambassadors at university events and games.
Homecoming Coordinator Jamilah Jackson said it was important to represent everyone on campus.
“A lot of people were, you know, talking about inclusiveness,” she said “This year, I think I’ve seen a lot more open members of the LGBTQA … I’ve seen their presence a lot more on campus and to me, that means that things are going to have to change.”
Students who wanted to be on this year’s court applied for the position. Requirements held that each student must be at least a junior with good academic standing and conduct, said Jackson.
“There was an interview with our committee of six faculty and staff,” Jackson said. “After the interview … the eight people who scored the highest were selected to be on the court.”
The eight members of the Homecoming Court are: Devon Abbey, Kajun Lloyd, Arielle Martin, Andrea Ozanich, Erika Perry, Nathan Sexton, Larry Wallace and Daniella Wood.
At the Homecoming Court Meet and Greet, Lloyd said she decided to apply for the court because she wanted to spread her love for Wayne State.
“Our university is unique because we are an institution that facilitates a support of community for students in order to become the best individuals that we can be,” said Lloyd. “That’s my definition of school spirit. And I want to spread that to other people.”
Student opinions differed on the new homecoming court. Pre-pharmacy major Jamilah Walls said she thought the new court was a good idea.
“Every day, things are evolving,” said Walls, “and really I believe people should have (an) equal opportunity to … be gender inclusive … I think it makes it better for everyone. It gives them an equal chance.”
Students Bethany Clark and Tim Vadnais said while the change isn’t necessarily wrong, they just didn’t see the point of changing the court.
“It just doesn’t seem like now there’s much of a point,” said Vadnais. “Homecoming king and queen are, you know, a big part of homecoming. If it’s not there, what’s the point?”
“We’re taking something that was started and planned a certain way, (and now) we’re changing it,” said Clark.
A recent Wayne State graduate herself, Jackson was voted the university’s homecoming queen for 2014. She said being in this position to work on the new homecoming court was a rewarding experience.
“First of all, I see how much work goes into it,” said Jackson. “It’s a very good place to be. Not only do I see- you know, I get to implement the change in gender roles, but I also get to make homecoming court a bit more important.”