Skip to comments.UNT vote upholds rules for royalty
Posted on 11/24/2009 8:59:53 AM PST by tuffydoodle
A record number of University of North Texas students to vote in a student government election cast online ballots in a referendum last week, defeating the possibility of same-sex couples running for homecoming court in 2010.
While most Student Government Association elections have garnered 4 percent or less of the student body vote, 13.5 percent, or 4,895 of the 36,206 students enrolled at UNT, cast ballots in the referendum.
The measure was defeated by a wide margin, 58 percent against to 42 percent in favor.
In the 2008 referendum to add a $10 fee for a new stadium to replace Fouts Field, 4,867 students voted, and the measure passed by a similar margin.
Dakota Carter, president of the UNT Student Government Association, said part of the reason the turnout was higher may have been because it was a student issue, and one the students could control.
This didnt involve the faculty or the administration or some other decision for something months and years away, Carter said.
UNTs tradition of a homecoming court is uncommon among colleges and universities, Carter said, although nationwide others, such as Vanderbilt University, have crowned same-sex couples.
Had the measure been approved, UNT wouldnt have been on track to be the first school in Texas to crown a same-sex couple either, since that has happened at the high school level.
But we would have been the first institution of higher education to do so, Carter said.
UNT student bylaws require candidates for homecoming court not only to file individually, but also to name their running partner in the campaign.
Most of the time, however, those running mates arent a couple in a relationship.
Until this year, its always been platonic, Carter said.
A member of the Student Senate proposed legislation earlier this year to allow a same-sex couple to run. When the issue came up for a vote, 10 senators voted no, five voted yes and eight abstained.
One of the abstentions was the speaker of the senate, who votes only in case of a tie. Two other abstentions were from members who were new to the body on the night of the vote. But it was unclear why five others abstained, Carter said.
Protests soon followed. Carter proposed the referendum, since it was against the bylaws for the body to reintroduce or reconsider the legislation.
The senate voted 22-1 in favor of the referendum.
Carter didnt know what, if any, fallout there might be from the vote, but the association was prepared to deal with it whatever comes, he said.
The soonest the association could revisit the issue would be for the 2011 homecoming, Carter said.