Letters to the Editor

RE: Beauty pageant not worthy of praises or prizesTo the student body:

I would like to take this opportunity to express my apologies for the confusion that is circulating about the reinstatement of the Miss USF pageant, which will also have an accompanying Mr. USF event.

It was never Student Government’s intention to promote a contest based merely on physical attributes, but instead to plan an event that would recognize and reward both young women and men who show USF spirit while being talented, composed, intelligent, involved on campus and active in the community. This idea seemed to have been misconstrued in Wednesday’s editorial, and I would like to clarify our position on this event.

As student body president, I have been working with my staff to create new traditions that will build students’ pride in their university and boost school spirit. This pageant is only one of the ways we hope to accomplish this, and we are working very hard to ensure that it does not become a simple beauty contest.

I can confidently assure all USF students that academic achievement, USF involvement, commitment to the community and leadership positions will play a significantly greater role in this competition than physical appearance. In fact, any USF student – undergraduate or graduate – can submit an application to be considered for the pageant. After the applications are reviewed, our judges will conduct formal interviews with the candidates to determine who will compete in the pageant.

A&S funds will not be used for awards, and we are pleased that a private donor has agreed to reward each winner a $1,000 scholarship.

As stated in the editorial that ran Wednesday, beauty is “relative,” and we are looking for poised young men and women who can serve as role models for younger students. We want to empower these students by showing them that intellect, involvement and volunteerism are great attributes recognized and rewarded here. It will be a prestigious honor to be awarded these titles, and we would never cheapen it through degrading behavior toward our fellow students.

We in SG are aware of the fine line that must be considered when planning the Mr. and Miss South Florida pageants, but we are moving forward, not backward, in our thinking. This is not an attempt to focus on physical appearance – it is a means of supporting our student body, building school spirit and honoring outstanding members of our campus community.

In Bull Pride,

Garin E. FlowersStudent Body President