Student Senate Recap: Senate Maintains Decision to Abolish Gender Categories

Shoshie Hemley, Opinion Editor

Today’s student senate meeting was highly anticipated by the student body after debate broke out Sunday night regarding last week’s vote to abolish gender categories. Similarly to the past two meetings, every seat in Mrs. Gibbens’ room was full. More students were present than at any prior meeting this year. Students who have never attended a student senate meeting were there in order to discuss last week’s vote. Around 10 students stood against the wall, some standing outside of the door, craning their necks to peek in. 

The meeting started off with a vote to decide the ticket for the Homecoming dance. After the decision was made, the room’s atmosphere changed as students waited in their seats patiently to voice their opinions on the controversy regarding the Homecoming court. 

Student body president Mira Bohannan Kumar ‘20 opened the floor, and it was silent. The first person to speak was Mr. Carlson who noted, “What does it stand for? Whatever we want it to. We don’t want to exclude,” in regards to the naming of Homecoming King and Queen. Following Mr. Carlson, the room erupted with discussion from many students. 

One student referenced a survey that was made that stated that at least 300 students were against last week’s decision. However, the creator of the survey, Mark Krysan ‘20, then explained how the survey’s results were skewed, biased, and could have easily been cheated. 

Some students then argued how the student senate meetings aren’t accessible or publicized enough in order for there to be a fair vote. However, others responded with the fact that this week’s meeting was highly publicised and known about, especially due to the fact that there were many new attendees. 

After almost 20 minutes of back-and-forth debate, Bohannan Kumar decided it was time to vote. Some students were upset by the fact that the entire student body was not represented; however, Bohannan Kumar stated that there is a limited amount of time before homecoming court is to be elected, and that the decision needed to be made. First, there was a vote regarding whether or not there should be a revote. Those in favor of a revote were in the minority. Then there was a second vote on whether or not to keep last week’s decision. The vote was almost unanimously in favor of keeping last week’s vote, with no more than a handful of people voting against it. 

The decision will go into action with the upcoming election. Seniors will vote on 14 students in the senior class who they believe embody who should be on City High’s Homecoming Court. However, with the changes in voting and a lack of gender categories, the “King” and “Queen” will be the two most voted students, regardless of gender. This could potentially result in two kings, two queens, or people who prefer to be referred to simply as “royals”. However, the tradition of the two people winning the vote will still be kept in place. The only change in that sense is that the person’s gender doesn’t influence whether or not they are voted for. Additionally, rather than the Homecoming court being seven girls and seven boys, it will simply be 14 people. 

“I don’t know what it was like in the past, but I feel like there are more people contributing,” Noah Weaver ‘20 said. “I felt like today was good, because although we kind of ended in the same spot that we started in, a lot of people got their voices heard in a major way.”

The discussion at student senate will continue. If you want your voice heard, student senate meetings are open to all students who wish to attend on Wednesday mornings at 8:15 in Mrs. Gibben’s room.