Having Two Kings Is Not Sexist

The change to “Royalty” is actually more inclusive

As I was sitting in the crowd during the coronation part of the homecoming show, I could pinpoint the exact moment I felt my stomach drop. Seeing Zachary Quirk and Connor Dilse smiling on stage with their crowns on their heads, I knew that people outside of NDSU were going to be upset. It would not matter to them that these two upstanding gentlemen won a democratic election, people just want to be angry about something, especially if it does not affect them. 

NDSU’s official Instagram and Facebook very quickly had to turn the comments off on their announcement post of the homecoming Royalty due to the hateful backlash they were receiving. NDSU administrators did take the time to share why we have homecoming “Royalty” instead of a “King” and “Queen”.

Essentially, in 2021 the student body voted to get rid of the gender requirement for those running for homecoming court to make it more inclusive, which reflected the democratic wants of the student population. The change was not mandated by the NDSU administration, the state university system, or the Board of Higher Education as a matter of official university policy.

This has resulted in a three-part process one must go through to be crowned. First, you must be nominated by a student organization, which can be difficult if it is a large group. Second, those nominated go through an interview process where they are asked about their campus involvement and school spirit. This year, there were around fifty people to go through.

Finally, if you make it onto the twelve-person court after the interviews, the student body gets to vote for their top two court members during homecoming week. From there, the two with the most overall votes are crowned as “Royalty” during the coronation ceremony part of the homecoming show, which is managed by Campus Attractions. 

Having two men win is not a new thing, because this is the second time in three years that this has happened. The only difference is that there was no outcry then, but people are up in arms about it this year for some reason. I would guess it is because of how politicized the country is currently and the fact that we are getting close to an election year. It is a shame that this bad publicity is taking away from their accomplishments.

They are both upstanding gentlemen who are greatly respected on campus and the votes from the student body reflect that. They helped NDSU’s Blue Key Honor Society raise over $6,000 for the 4-6-3 Foundation, but there has been a distinct lack of reporting on that.

Not only that, but a considerable amount of the angry commenters did not even attend NDSU or have not within the last thirty years. I understand the emphasis that is placed on tradition, but people have changed over the years and the values of the students reflect that. It is OUR time at the University after all. People who do not currently go here are weirdly obsessed with something that does not affect their lives in the slightest. 

Other commenters are using buzzword phrases, such as “go woke, go broke”, as if this was a decision made by the university and not the student population. The tax dollars of students are going to this university as well–not to mention their savings to try to avoid student loans–so I feel as though our opinions matter more than random trolls on the Internet.

Everyone I have talked to so far genuinely does not think that this is a big deal. The title of homecoming “Royalty” is only important to very few people, and those who are directly affected do not seem to be bothered either.

I personally know quite a few of the women on the homecoming court, and they all said essentially the same thing: they do not care that two men won, and they are genuinely happy for Zach and Connor. They have noted that being selected to even be on court is the true honor, considering all the steps they had to take to get there. Everyone who made it onto the court was highly involved on campus and was being recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to campus life.

Whoever gets the crown has inconsequential value to the experience of the overall group. They would not want to win just because they are women, but because they got the most or second most votes from the student body. The two that won are exemplary people who have had a high honor placed on them, and their gender does not take away from their accomplishments. 

I can understand where the concern is coming from, considering most other angry comments are along the lines of “This is taking away opportunities from women”. That may be just a blanket statement based on what has been happening on campus with the recent removal of the provost.

However, the administration is completely removed from the student population in this scenario. A large portion of the cries of anti-feminism I have seen commented are just thinly veiled transphobia and homophobia. 

It appears many people do not like that we removed the binary of “King” and “Queen” and are utterly convinced that this means that we are pushing some sort of liberal agenda. When, in reality, it is just opening the floor for people to run without gender being a preventative barrier. Women have made up the majority of the court since the change, but I have not heard any complaints about that.

I have also seen comments targeting and speculating on the sexuality and gender identity of the homecoming Royalty when that has nothing to do with why they were chosen. I find that to be insulting and inappropriate, especially when that is of no concern to anyone but themselves. Their character is what got them the votes to win the title of homecoming Royalty.

Commenters are taking things too far by only using “what if” scenarios and how this is a “slippery slope” such as how “they are going to take away women’s right to be at college next”. However, they fail to notice that none of those things have happened and are far too outlandish to even be humored as realistic.

Winning this popularity contest is a tradition in itself, and not the reason that the football team lost the homecoming game this last weekend (which is a trendy comment at the moment). Seriously, read some of the comments floating around. Some of these people are genuinely delusional and need to grow up.

It does make me wonder if there would have been the same outcry if two women had won homecoming Royalty this year. If those commenters who are upset really want to support the women on NDSU’s campus, there are much better things they could be doing with their time.

This includes voting for more women in campus-related elections, going to women’s sporting events, funding women-based organizations on campus, and attending shows put on that are feminist-based—such as the Dracula performance coming this month. 

I can assure you that the students at NDSU do not care nearly as much as those that have no real reason to. Everyone on that homecoming court earned their spot and deserved to be recognized for their contributions to NDSU. The change to “Royalty” has allowed for a wider variety of students to have the same opportunity without trying to reach an outdated quota on the gender identities of the candidates.

I fail to see how this is hurting or hindering students who have to go through the selection process. The rest of the student body gets to take part in a democratic voting process to decide who they want to earn the title, which one would think would be a positive thing to the people commenting inappropriately. Grown adults should mind their own business, it is just disturbing that they want to be upset about something so unimportant to their own lives.

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