Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor
The Student Government Association (SGA) wrongly crowned the 2016 Homecoming king before Saturday’s football game because of a misreading of voting results.
Clint Combs, graduate student from Benton, Kentucky, and SGA president, said a candidate asked to review the results and that was how the discrepancy was found. He said it’s normal procedure to allow candidates to review results of any SGA affiliated election.
Michael Mann, senior from Springfield, Kentucky, was originally crowned Homecoming king. Monday evening, he was told that there was a mistake in the count, and Austin Spicer, junior from Paducah, was the actual Homecoming king.
“It’s a difficult situation on all ends for everyone involved and I feel bad for Austin simply because his experience wasn’t all that it could have been,” Mann said. “It was an honest mistake.”
Spicer said being shocked was an understatement when he heard that he was the actual Homecoming king.
Voting for Homecoming king and queen takes place on MyGate the Wednesday and Thursday prior to Homecoming. Combs said SGA receives an email with the results on Friday that includes the number of votes cast for each candidate. He said only one person, typically the Student Government adviser, sees this breakdown prior to crowning so it will be a surprise at the football game who the winners are.
“It is a very secretive process to keep it a surprise and exciting for everyone,” Combs said. “Unfortunately, what happened this year was a random, unfortunate accident.”
The results are not listed in order of highest to least votes, and Combs said the person in charge of selecting the winning candidate didn’t realize that Spicer had the highest number of votes.
“We have been able to talk to both parties about it and they have been very gracious,” Combs said. “Both Mr. Spicer and Mr. Mann have been very gracious and real gentlemen about the process.”
Combs said each year there is typically no review process of the Homecoming elections. However, he said the process of reviewing the results will change so now both the Student Government adviser and the Director of Student Life and Curris Center will review the results prior to crowning.
He said the plans for a new crowning for Spicer are currently in the works.
“We want to make sure Mr. Spicer gets recognition for this, this is a big honor to get on campus, so we want to make sure he gets the proper recognition,” Combs said.
Jeanie Morgan, Coordinator for Student Activities and SGA adviser, said SGA took over the Homecoming queen selection in 1970, and the first Homecoming king was crowned in 2001. Before 1970, a committee made of administration in athletics was in charge of the Homecoming court selection.
To be on Homecoming court, students are nominated by student organizations and then participate in an interview process completed by a committee of faculty and staff that selects five nominees based on appearance, how well they speak and involvement.Students then vote on these nominees.
“I was honored to share the court with such deserving candidates, and I am humbled to have been selected as this year’s Homecoming king,” Spicer said. “I cannot wait to represent this community, this university, and the people of Murray.”