Christmas Formal to Allow Gender Neutral Guest Option

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The Christmas formal dance will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, in Xavier Center from 7:30-11 p.m. The theme of this year’s dance is “Sno-Cal,” which incorporates Southern California culture with Christmas spirit.

Following a half-decade of requests from the student body and staff members, Loyola students will now be able to take any guest, regardless of gender, to the Christmas dance and all future dances.

Seniors Alberto Ruiz, Raul Orellana and Austin Barrow proposed the idea of a gender-neutral prom contract to Dean of Men Dan Annarelli, Director of Activities Chris Walter, Principal Frank Kozakowski and Assistant Principal Dr. Paul Jordan last spring. The Office of Equity and Inclusion supported the proposal and recommended that the administration make the change. The committee of students and staff met numerous times and mutually agreed that the female-only guest policy neglected the desires of students who wished to bring male guests.

Following the meetings, the student committee was invited to make revisions to the contract to contain more inclusive language. The result was the removal of adjectives implying only female guests. The upcoming Christmas dance will mark the first instance of the new contract’s implementation with the new, gender-blind language.

Senior Grant Regen, who wrote an editorial last spring in response to the exclusively female guest policy at prom, was pleased with the rule alteration.

Regen said, “I think that this shows that the administration is listening to the students’ voices. A lot of people say that the opinion pieces in the newspaper or the things that students write or say doesn’t get listened to. But what this really shows, I think, is that if enough people come together and show the administration that this is something that has to be changed, they’ll listen.”

Regen hopes that the alteration of the contract in response to students’ concerns inspires the student body to express their opinions and work to improve Loyola.

Regen said, “Not only is [the contract change]a testament to the fact that the right thing always happens in the end, but also that the only way that happens is through student voice and student action.”

Jordan said, “I am always looking at what is best for our students. This change is meant to make it an inviting environment for the entire student body.”

Guinane said, “I think this change is good for Loyola because it promotes progress, and it creates an open environment where students can be their true selves.”

Ruiz said, “Most people won’t care because it doesn’t affect them, but for the few who will now be able to take someone of the same sex that they care for or if another guy just wants to bring a friend—it’s for everyone. It’s going to be important to them because they will finally be able to feel that due attention is being given to them and that students feel like they matter.”

To plan for the dance, student council has met every Thursday morning to discuss themes, ideas, decorations and student jobs at the dance.

Senior and Student Council Publications Representative Raul Orellana said, “The theme this year incorporates both a California-themed Christmas and snowy weather. The students should expect to see fake snow and beachy decorations.”

The Mother’s Guild Decor Committee along with student council representatives prepared Xavier Center for the dance during the preceding week.

Orellana said, “Student council works the event, mainly in the bar area, with setup and with cleanup.”

Every year there is a unique holiday drink that students can order while at the dance.

Senior and Student Council Intramural Commissioner Jake Guinane said, “We are thinking about calling it something along the lines of the Michael Bublé or the Bubbly Bublé.”

The formal, although traditionally geared towards the freshman class, is open to all grade levels. Student Body President Connor Ladwig said, “Everybody has the misconception that the dance is only for underclassmen, but it is definitely for all grade levels.”

The next major Loyola dance will be the Junior-Senior Prom, which will be held on April 21.

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