Otterbein University's Homecoming court selection process has changed significantly. What used to be a campuswide popular vote, is now also a process where candidates go through staff-reviewed applications and interviews.
Student voice, though still present in the process, has drastically decreased.
In the spring, candidates must submit a personal statement, involvement statement and a resume, which was not previously required. Otterbein staff then select applicants for an interview with other faculty, staff and alumni. Students are only permitted to vote for court members after this interview process.
Homecoming court members are chosen based on 50 percent of the application and interview score and 50 percent of the campuswide vote.
The same process is used when choosing Homecoming royalty in the fall. In the event of a tie between court members, the member with the higher GPA will be selected as royalty.
Laurleena Todd, a junior health communication and public relations major, said she doesn’t like the process at all and that students should be provided with more information on the candidates at the time of voting.
“I honestly think it’s not worth anyone’s time," said Todd. "If academics are really important, I would like to see some academic [information] when I vote.”
Claudia Owusu, a senior creative writing major, said the blend of faculty, staff and student opinion is practical, but thinks it could be improved by giving students initial involvement in the process.
“I think how it is right now sounds about right to me," said Owusu. “I think what we should be looking for is a more well-rounded student, so perhaps showing more of their profile or giving us more access to their interviews would be better.”
In past years, each student organization picked one senior as their representative candidate. Candidates were then involved in a campuswide election to determine who is on court and another in the fall to determine royalty.
"The process has moved from a strictly popular vote experience that is limited only to the peer election, to more of a robust process,” said Colette Masterson, director of the center for student involvement. “This model is really intended to help identify folks who may not be otherwise represented in the group."
Homecoming royalty will be announced at the football game on Saturday, Sept. 22.