The University of Minnesota is shedding its "king" and "queen" titles for homecoming, organizers said Monday. Instead "royalty" will be the term of choice.
The Student Unions and Activities office said in its announcement that the change come this fall is "an effort toward gender inclusivity."
"We wish to promote a spirit of inclusion at the University of Minnesota," the announcement continued. "This change allows the University to select the best student representatives for the U based on campus and community involvement — regardless of gender."
Organizers said they "can be any combination of any gender identity."
The move away from gender-specific labels has been going on for several years on campuses around the country.
Last fall, the University of Wisconsin-Stout's annual homecoming for the first time in nearly 80 years did not crown a homecoming king and queen. Instead, several students were selected Friday for the Stout Ambassadors Spirit Award. At the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the titles of king and queen were dropped last year in favor of royalty, ending the requirement that the two be of the opposite sex.
The U's Twin Cities campus has celebrated homecoming since 1914 and includes activities such as community service opportunities, concerts and the Homecoming parade and football game.
Homecoming royalty represent the university on campus and at various events such as the Minnesota State Fair. Also, the two students who win the royalty title will be awarded a scholarship.
The two who are now the U's final king and queen are 2016 selections Ethan Dado, of Amery, Wis., and Priyanka Shah, of Eden Prairie.