Valerie Acosta, SAGA Club President
ALPINE- Sul Ross has been making many changes to this university over the past year. Many of
those changes are intended to create a more inclusive campus environment for the LGBTQ+
For example, as of this semester the ResLife staff has been using name tags that include their
pronouns. Furthermore, the Office for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (ODEI) was established in
August 2020 by then-new SRSU President Pete P. Gallego. As the coordinator for ODEI, Dr.
Savannah Williamson offers Safe Space trainings to the Sul Ross community every
These Safe Space trainings may be requested by anyone in the university and tailored
to specific audiences. For example, Sexual and Gender Alliance (SAGA), which is the
university’s LGBTQ+ Pride and ally student group, intends to complete the training in the Fall of
2021 as a way of creating a more inclusive student organization and supportive community
In her role as ODEI Coordinator, Dr. Williamson has also advocated for the adoption of new
policies that promote equity and inclusion across our campuses. One such policy is the “SRSU
Chosen or Preferred Name and Gender Policy,” which was approved and went into effect early
in the Fall 2021 semester and is now available to all current members of the university. This
policy allows any Sul Ross student or employee to change the first and middle names and/or
gender markers that appear within internal documents and communications, including in Banner
and on course rosters.
Although this does not affect legal documents, the policy allows members
of SRSU to align their personal information on campus with their gender-identity.
This policy was established in response to complaints from several members of the incoming Class of 2025
that their gender, pronouns, and names were not being respected by all members of the campus
As the president of SAGA, I wish to enlist the help of Dr. Williamson to change certain
traditions on the Alpine campus. With homecoming around the corner, I believe that one
tradition in need of modernizing is to change the homecoming titles from “King and Queen” to
gender-neutral titles that would allow for greater inclusion and representation among the student
Having a gender-neutral titles for homecoming is a goal that I hope to achieve before I graduate
from Sul Ross State University. By establishing gender-neutral titles for the homecoming court, I
feel that the university would create a much more inclusive environment for anyone who
identifies as non-binary, gender fluid, or gender-non-conforming. Such a change would also
provide same sex couples with the opportunity to compete for homecoming titles.
Even though we have an LGBTQ+ and ally organization (SAGA) on campus, I feel like the school is still not
keeping up with norms that are being used in other universities. For example, Purdue University
stopped using king and queen titles for homecoming and is one of many universities across the
nation to adopt the titles of “Homecoming Royalty” to promote diversity and equality throughout
their institutions. After Purdue adopted this policy on September 22, 2018, providing opportunity
for more individuals to participate in homecoming traditions and compete for the crown,
regardless of gender, their university experienced one of its most successful homecoming
celebrations to date.
It is now 2021. My hope is that this year will be the last that we see a Homecoming “King and
Queen” at Sul Ross and that, moving forward, my fellow peers in the community are not
excluded from our university traditions simply for being who they are.