University's Equal Opportunity Office wants all-male mock-pageant to include women, transgendered students

  • Mr. College of Business and Economics, a humorous mock-pageant, has been held since 2012.
  • Event is used to raise funds for nonprofit dedicated to men's health issues.

The future of the all-male mock beauty pageant at Western Washington University (WWU), Mr. College of Business and Economics, is in question after the Equal Opportunity Office has asked for more gender equality in the event.

The pageant, which began in 2012, takes place annually during the College of Business and Economics’ business week in May. The event involves 10 male students who perform a mock-pageant in front of a panel of judges, in the hopes of being crowned Mr. CBE.

“The pageant was unique because it was males. It’s a niche, that’s why it’s successful.”   

The pageant includes a series of tests which range from a mock interview, a modeling section, reactions to situational business questions, and a talent show. The comedic event is used to raise money for Sacks of Love, a nonprofit organization dedicated to male health issues, namely testicular cancer. The event raised $2,300 in 2013.

However, the university’s Equal Opportunity Office has taken issue with the pageant because female and transgendered students could not to participate.

“I think it would be a very interesting, and probably important, discussion for the students to have that are sponsoring this about whether or not they should open up participation for transgendered and [female] students,” said Craig Dunn, Dean of the College of Business and Economics.

Craig Dunn sits on the LGBT Advisory Council at Western and helped create six gender-neutral restrooms across campus.

“I think it would be good for all our clubs to be educated around the matter of exclusivity, because they’re going to encounter it in the workplace,” he told The Western Front, WWU’s twice-weekly newspaper.

Associate Dean of the CBE, Sandra Mottner, seconded Dunn and suggested that “We probably need to have some conversations here in CBE, with this club and maybe all clubs.”

Ben Neyman, a 2013 Mr. CBE contestant, said that the new proposal would undermine the humorous element of the pageant.

“[It’s] males really putting themselves out there when normally they don’t — it just wouldn’t be the same pageant,” he said.

“The pageant was unique because it was males. It’s a niche, that’s why it’s successful.”

The Equal Opportunity Office declined to comment for this article.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter:@SteveLarson

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