UNO’s Royal Disaster

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UNO’s Royal Disaster

Erron Thomas, Staff Writer

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November 1 through 7 marked this year’s University of New Orleans’s homecoming. The university held its annual events, such as golfing Friday morning, a parade Monday, student tailgate and pep rally on Tuesday, nachos and jazz on Wednesday, a paint party Thursday, and a whole itinerary full of activities throughout the remainder of the week, along with presentation of the court following the basketball game. 

 

While the University presented plenty of classic Homecoming activities, a couple of unprecedented activities also took place, one of which sent a slight wave through the Privateers.

 

“Traditionally, homecoming is on Saturday, and then voting and events are the week leading up to it,” says film major Grace Glipin. 

 

While many contestants who were nominated for homecoming court simply ran for the hell of it, in spite of the indifference, some nominees were left feeling robbed. 

 

“I was a little annoyed that we couldn’t really campaign,” Glipin said. Traditionally, students have a week filled with homecoming-inspired events to attend and time to campaign for themselves. This year, the voting announcement was held on Tuesday, and there were no events to promote voting or homecoming itself. 

 

While the scheduling situation didn’t send that big of a riff through the Privateers, unprecedented acts still shook the waters. 

 

Monday around 2 p.m., UNO in acted in a never-before-seen way. They posted numerical results of the nominees, with the names of each contestant. This has never been done in UNO homecoming history. The contest is already perceived as some sort of glorified popularity contest. Some students didn’t feel that way, because winning wasn’t their purpose in entering it. Yet, the Student Activity Council’s (SAC) posting of the results forced students and nominees to think just that. 

 

SAC put  nominees in a groupme where those involved responded to the council’s posting of the picture. But why did the university see fit to handle the situation the way they did? 

 

“Often, SAC is questioned about election results and are told to be more transparent with their process via media channels. The post is to meet the demands of those requests,” said SAC campus adviser Kathy S. Jones in a response to messages from Glipin regarding her feelings. 

 

The SAC’s act of posting the results took a huge toll on some students. The winner of the court, Lamari Phillips, said, “I love Grace; she has every reason and right to feel the way she does.” When asked how she would feel if she lost and her votes were posted, she replied, “Well, I was running for the fun of it, so I don’t think I would really care that much” 

 

The queen’s view certainly contrasts Glipin’s perspective. “My entire problem being that we don’t run a campaign based on policy or ideas. The campaign is personally so exposing that is super hurtful to us and uncalled for, as it’s a direct relation to us as we didn’t even get to campaign this year, nor are our campaigns anything but our person.” 

 

Glipins got involved for the same reasons as the queen. After winning the nominations and genuinely enjoying their universities, why not entertain the possibility of running? 

 

On one hand, those in the court didn’t really feel any kind of way from the actions of SAC. Simultaneously, some nominees felt as though it was somewhat an attack on their person. Gilpin remarks that she wasn’t the only one who felt the way she does. “Other candidates were upset about it, but do not want to speak out or come forward. But I’ve gotten lots of feedback and support from other students on campus about how they also believe that was very wrong and not OK for them to do,” she said.

 

After Glipins spoke out about her genuine feelings, SAC and SIL took no formal action. While Jones did respond to Glipins’ comment, she still walked away with an unresolved sense, hearing words like “valid” and “genuine” in relation to her feelings. There was still no action or apology even. 

 

The council did inform nominees that they would be posting results via email. Not many people saw the email in time. This was never mentioned to the nominees in the beginning of the process and it was only shared with them hours before the post. 

 

“It was a very disingenuous ending to the process,” said Glipin. She was  “at peace” with the outcome regardless of the lack of opportunity to campaign–until this happened. This isn’t your normal campaign, it isn’t based on merit, or policies or plans. More often than not, it’s based on exposure and popularity, the person. The act of posting the results hyper focus unnecessary attention on the candidates and their personality, because that what votes are based on. 

 

A simple request for consent could have completely changed the narrative for some students involved. 

 

The university adhered to comments relating to their transparency with various processes and immediate action. Yet, when students are directly affected by the actions of the university, seemingly no action gets done. The university made no formal apology to those students who felt negatively impacted by the post, nor has the post been taken down. It stands to wonder what lengths the university will go to in order to protect how they are perceived. 

 

If there is a silver lining in some of the aftermath of these homecoming events, it is definitely the precedent set by this year’s new aspect of crowning. 

 

The university decided to allow the winners of the election to choose whether they wanted to be king, queen, or royalty. This act is consistent with the gender fluidity our culture is experiencing. The university did not want to force someone into an unwanted category or inspire hesitation in others to get involved. 

 

“There have always been more girls who applied than boys, and trying to balance the genders of it all it made the female spots far more competitive than the male. I think it made it more comfortable for students who don’t identify in the traditional gender spectrum to have an opportunity to participate and feel properly represented,” Glipins said.

 

It’s safe to say most students had similar feelings. Royalty Lamari Phillips feels as though “it was definitely a good decision, it makes it more inclusive.”

 

Clearly, the Privateers 2019 homecoming was full of events that had an umbrella of effects. Yet simple

communication could have alleviated the issues that stemmed from some homecoming events. 

 

 

 

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