Rockhurst student section opens to girls

Rockhurst High School students vote on allowing girls in the student section for the homecoming football game.

Rockhurst+High+School+lets+girls+into+their+student+section+at+the+Homecoming+football+game+for+the+very+first+time.+The+game+included+a+performance+by+the+STA+dance+team+and+a+game+of+%22sharks+and+minnows.%22+photo+by+Paige+Powell

Rockhurst High School lets girls into their student section at the Homecoming football game for the very first time. The game included a performance by the STA dance team and a game of “sharks and minnows.” photo by Paige Powell

by Katherine Green and Paige Powell

story by Katherine Green

This year at the Rockhurst High School’s homecoming football game, girls were allowed to be in the boys’ student section for the first time in the past ten years. Rockhurst seniors voted on students bringing their homecoming date with them to the game Oct. 9. Anyone planning on attending the game had the chance to dress up in the 50’s theme, according to Rockhurst senior class vice president, Miles Wood. The student section also welcomed any girls that wanted to attend the game, with or without a homecoming date, according to RHS Student Government Association president, Daniel Henry.

Within the past years, the student section at Rockhurst included only Rockhurst students, with the “girls gotta go” rule. Rockhurst senior and Spirit Captain, Charlie Weiler, proposed the idea of bringing girls into the student section after a decrease in attendance this year, according to Rockhurst senior Dominic Tutera.

“At [the recent] alumni game, some of the alumni were shocked at the ‘girls gotta go’ cheer,” Henry said. “The past three years the RHS Student Government has discussed the idea of reintroducing girls to the student section, but the previous student leaders never took any action for fear of backlash. We know that there are plenty of people who think this isn’t the best idea, however, the potential benefits for our shared community and the opportunity for great experiences seemed too great to pass up.”

A committee at Rockhurst gathered in the beginning of the school year to discuss Weiler’s proposition of allowing girls into the student section. The committee included the president and vice president of the senior class, John Godfrey and Miles Wood,  the student government president and vice president,  Henry and Billy Harmes and spirit captain Weiler.

“We want to make the football games more of a social event,” Henry said. “We didn’t want guys to have to give up the chance to meet girls because they came out and supported their school. We know this can work because it did work really well until the student leadership changed the policy 10-15 years ago.”

According to Tutera, it was “about a 50/50” split between the Rockhurst students in favor of letting girls into the student section and those against it.  Arguments against girls in the student section included that the girls would not have an interest in the game, causing a distraction from the game to the underclassmen as well as the juniors and seniors, according to Tutera.One of the main arguments was that if the girls do not go to Rockhurst, why should they be in the student section.

“Personally I thought it was going to be a bad idea,” Tutera said. “Then, you know, just the intimidation factor [causes distraction], because personally I just thought back to my freshman year, and my first big Rockhurst game. I can imagine myself looking down and seeing a senior girl and being so afraid and timid that I wouldn’t do anything. That’s where I met a lot of my close friends, at that game.”

The committee voted on having a compromise where girls would be allowed in the Rockhurst Student Section for the homecoming game only.

“I think girls should always be allowed in our student section,” junior Scotty Thompson said. “That’s the way it used to be when my parents were kids, and I think it would increase attendance and make the games more fun for everybody.”

photos by Paige Powell

Although girls were allowed in the Rockhurst student section, STA girls have varying opinions. After sending a poll to the STA student population, 216 STA students gave their opinions on  girls being allowed in the RHS student section. Of the 216 girls, 61 were freshmen, 57 were sophomores, 49 were juniors and 49 were seniors.

When asked how often they currently attend RHS games, without being allowed in the student section, 30.6 percent said they attend a game once a year, 29.2 percent said they attend once a month, 28. 7 percent said they never attend and the remainder said they attend every game.

“If it’s one game, that’s fun right before homecoming,” sophomore Claire Ryan said. “But if it’s every game, I feel like it would make less and less people come rather than more and more people come.”

However, when asked how often they would attend Rockhurst games if girls were allowed in the student section, 49.1 percent said that being allowed in the student section would not make a difference in whether or not they would attend the games. The next majority, with 23.1 percent of the poll, said they would attend every Rockhurst game. Of the 216 girls, 47.7 students were in favor of girls being allowed in the student section, 40.3 percent were indifferent to girls being allowed in the Rockhurst student section and 12 percent were against it.

Although Rockhurst is testing out girls in its student section, STA will not be allowing non-STA students in the student section, according to spirit club president, MaryMichael Hough.

“While we support Rockhurst’s decision to allow girls in their students section, I don’t see STA following suit any time soon,” Hough said. “Although students from other schools are welcome to attend our sporting events, I think that our student section will continue to consist of STA students only. Showing up to games and supporting our peers together as a school is special to the STA experience and strengthens our sense of sisterhood. We want our student section to be a comfortable place for STA students to be able to act weird or however they want without worrying about what boys or anyone from other schools may think.”