On April 17, sophomore political science major and SGA senator Brandon Rue submitted bill B06S17 to junior communication studies major and SGA Vice President McKenna Stone. Rue proposed that for every female position held on the homecoming court, there will be a male counterpart. Almost one week later, all 35 senators voted unanimously to pass the bill on April 27.
Rue’s inspiration for amending the election code stemmed from not being allowed to run for homecoming beau as a freshman from Meridian, Mississippi. Soon after, he realized he was not alone in his confusion.
“I also had a few freshman girls ask me why they can’t pick their own escort or run with a male counterpart. I honestly don’t know why it has taken so long to break this tradition,” Rue said. “I’m not sure if guys just did not want it or if someone just shot them down when they brought it up, but for me it was a really easy process.”
Stone explained the “easy process” of passing a piece of legislation in the SGA Senate.
“There are two types of legislation – bills and resolutions. A resolution is an encouragement for a particular person or department on campus to take action. A bill, on the other hand, changes official SGA documents, such as our Constitution, Bylaws or Election Code,” Stone said.
In the first section of the bill, which lists the titles and requirements of the homecoming court, the bill now states, “There shall be one maid and one beau for each undergraduate class and one graduate maid and one graduate beau” as long as each maid and each beau is a member of the class that he/she seeks to represent as determined by number of hours completed.
In order for the bill to go into effect, it had to pass with majority over two consecutive meetings. Afterwards, Rue, Stone, SGA President Cameron Cloud, SGA Election Commissioner Henry Bruebaker and SGA advisor Wynde Fits signed the bill into law.
“We [the SGA Senate] are very excited to see homecoming expand! Rue’s passion on the topic is contagious,” Stone said.
In addition, Rue mentioned that The University of Southern Mississippi is one of “the first of its kind” in predominately white universities in Mississippi. For example, the University of Mississippi nor Mississippi State University appear to have had male beaus accompanied by homecoming maids.
“The reaction I got from this is truly amazing everyone loves the idea and was surprised as to why it was not already like this,” Rue said.
Bruebaker echoed similar thoughts regarding the university’s progress.
“I think as humans we like what is familiar to us, what is comfortable, and we sometimes become set in our ways and traditions,” Bruebaker said. “However, the world we live in is constantly changing and USM is evolving with it.”
For interested candidates, applications for Homecoming Court and Mr. and Miss Southern Miss open on Aug. 24 and will close on Sept. 7 at noon. Applicants will then be required to attend a candidates meeting the evening of Sept. 7. Candidates are then allowed to campaign both verbally and via social media (following regulations within the Election Code and determined by the Election Commissioner) up until the day of elections. At the end of each election day, results will be announced.
Homecoming elections will be held on September 19, and run-off elections will be September 21.