UW-Stout replaces homecoming court with gender-neutral 'Spirit Award'

  • In the interest of avoiding "gender restrictions," the University of Wisconsin-Stout is doing away with its 80-year tradition of homecoming kings and queens.
  • In place of the homecoming court, the school will instead award eight gender-neutral "Spirit Awards."

The University of Wisconsin-Stout is scrapping a longstanding tradition of honoring a homecoming king and queen in favor of awarding eight students with a gender-neutral “Spirit Award.”

The school announced Thursday that, for the first time in 80 years, it will not crown a king and queen for its October 8 homecoming in order to avoid being held down by the dated gender binary.

“The new ‘royalty’ program provides an opportunity to...not be bound by gender restrictions.”   

[RELATED: Universities urge students to use gender-neutral pronouns]

“The new ‘royalty’ program provides an opportunity to recognize more students who can have a more meaningful role as ambassadors and not be bound by gender restrictions,” said Emily Ascher, campus activities coordinator, in the news release.

She went on to note that all students “have the capacity to strongly and proudly serve as representatives of campus,” saying that “restricting that role to a gender specific pair limits opportunities, both for our students and the program as a whole.”

The school announced its decision just one week before its 125th homecoming anniversary, and will select the eight recipients of the new gender-neutral award next week.

While crowning a gender-neutral homecoming court is not a widespread practice on college campuses, one Maryland high school seems to have paved the way for UW-Stout when it announced Tuesday that it would drop its practice of electing a boy as a king and a girl as a queen.

“It is really not our job, especially with a gender-neutral and transgender population at B-CC, to tell people that boys have to be kings and girls have to be queens,” said Jacob Rains, president of the school’s student government. “Who are we to put people into those categories?”

The Washington Post, however, points out that such practices could result in some problems because nothing would prohibit more boys than girls being elected as homecoming royalty.

Campus Reform reached out to UW-Stout for comment on the matter, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski

Get exclusive access to breaking CampusReform stories as they happen. Sign up below and we'll keep you in the loop.
 Weekly Digest

 Daily Emails

Anthony Gockowski
Anthony Gockowski | Contributing Editor/Investigative Reporter

Anthony Gockowski is the Contributing Editor and an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, Intercollegiate Review, The Catholic Spirit, and The College Fix. In 2015, he was named a fellow for the Student Free Press Association. His reporting is regularly featured on Drudge Report, Fox News, National Review, and more.

20 Articles by Anthony Gockowski