Penn State Homecoming Committee eliminates king, queen titles

The Penn State Homecoming Executive Committee has decided to eliminate the titles of homecoming king and queen starting this year. (Penn State)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Homecoming Executive Committee has decided to eliminate the titles of homecoming king and queen starting this year.

"(For) us as a university, it's time that we go along with those changes that are occurring in our country," 2018 Royalty Committee director Renee Clauson-Rivera said.

The committee made the decision to embrace diversity and gender inclusivity around campus.

“Homecoming, as an organization, supports and strives to embody the aspirations of the ‘All-In’initiative. To us, it’s less about what a student looks like on paper and more about embracing the whole person and the unique experiences and backgrounds of each Penn Stater,” said Ally Berdan, executive director for homecoming 2018.

Committee officials said the top two recognized students will now receive the Guided State Forward Award.

"This year were opening it up to ten students male. female regardless of gender expression, gender identify or gender in general," Clauson-Rivera said. " We're choosing them based on Penn State's six core values."

The process began with nominations Wednesday and from there the homecoming committee will select the top 20 candidates, with the final 10 being named to the 2018 Homecoming Student Court.

“I appreciate the effort of those involved with Penn State Homecoming to create a process that is more openly inclusive and allows a variety of Penn State students to participate and be honored in that process,” said Jennifer Pencek, programming coordinator of the Gender Equity Center.

"I feel like it's a step in the right direction.I feel like sometimes you got to like, go with the feeling at times," Penn State student James Smith said. "Some people don't identify as male or female."

Students reacted to the announcement on Tuesday.

"I think it's a great idea, especially since people no long identify as just male or female," Penn State student Rhea Singh said.

"I don't know why it's a big deal," Penn State student Katelyn Troth said.

"It just kind of makes people more included and if we can have a more inclusive school where people feel more comfortable and happier and can take part in homecoming if they couldn't in the past so I think it's good for the future and good for us now," student Brannon DeWolf said.

One student has a concern about the new titles.

"I think it's kind of interesting because I feel like it is a tradition to have a king and a queen," student Melanie Kovacs said.

"As we continue to make this a permanent transition year after year, that it will become something that will be accepted," Clauson -Rivera said.

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