EDITORIAL: Racism toward Homecoming Court not OK


Rob Le Cates

Homecoming Queen Jacqueline Williams, a senior kinesiology major, is honored by the crowd at Homecoming Coronation. Coronation was held Monday night in the MLK Union Grand Ballroom. Williams said when it was announced that she won, she couldn’t believe she had won and that she stood there shocked for a moment.

Editorial Board

For over 100 years,  Eastern has chosen individuals from the campus community to “reign over” Eastern for Homecoming.

Individuals from a variety of organizations now vie for the positions of Homecoming Queen, Homecoming King, Homecoming Princess and Homecoming Prince and in the past two decades we have seen an increase in diversity on the court, specifically many Black students have been elected in previous years.

Eastern saw its first Black Homecoming King in 1995 and its first Black Homecoming Queen in 2003.

However, many people do not know Eastern’s full history with Black students and Black Homecoming Queens.

In 1973, a Black woman, Diane Williams, won the position of Homecoming Queen. However, a group of students claimed Williams violated campaign rules by having a campaign flyer next to the ballot box for four hours of the voting time.

The rules for campaigning at the time were strictly against using flyers for campaigning and any form of campaigning in the building the day of elections was prohibited.

There was never mention of proof of the flyer, nor was there proof that Williams or anyone in support of her placed the flyer there.

However, what is known is that two members of the Election and Rules Committee were sorority sisters of the first runner-up, Karyl Buddemeier, and were well aware of the results before the sorority, Sigma Kappa, filed a complaint against Williams for her alleged misconduct.

One could speculate the validity of the complaint and could question several factors of it, like why members of the committee allowed the alleged flyer to sit next to the ballot box for four hours despite it being such an “egregious” campaign violation or why the committee allowed for members connected to the person who would benefit the most from William’s votes being deducted were allowed to be any part of the deduction.

Following the election, some decided to show their true colors with racist comments, letters to the editor to our publication speaking with messages against Black students and by burning a cross in the yard of the Black fraternity that sponsored Williams.

Yes, you read that correctly, a cross burning in Charleston in 1973. All over a homecoming race.

Though there can be arguments made that racism was not a factor in the alleged campaign violation itself, there is no doubt that it took a huge role in the way people reacted to the situation.

Now, in 2021 we see comments about how students of color sweep the Homecoming Court each year. Almost always with a racist undertone and always with a sense of entitlement.

And, of course, always taking issue with the fact that Eastern has seen a recent increase in Black students being represented on the Homecoming Court.

However, the fact of the matter is the majority of students at Eastern are white. The majority of candidates are white.

White students are at no disadvantage when it comes to getting onto the court. It’s a waste of time claiming they are.

If you want your organization’s candidates to win a title, organize better. Don’t blame Black organizations for your loss.

To the 2021 Homecoming Court, congratulations. You earned it.