Homecoming season is once again upon us and while it may not be the huge event that it is at many larger universities, at the University of Richmond it is certainly no small affair. The week is filled with events hosted by SpiderBoard, a major football game against Albany, Chiddy Bang’s homecoming concert, and, of course, the annual elections for homecoming king and queen. With ten nominees for king and twelve for queen, the race is taking over social media with changed profile pictures, shares of candidate biographies, and posts about whom you should be voting for. While there is certainly a lot of excitement being generated about homecoming elections, there is one candidate who has apparently had enough of the race. Liam Mulcahy, of the Kappa Alpha Order, who has been very visible recently for his founding of the SAT initiative, has decided to withdraw from the race. Mulcahy took issue with the concept of extra votes for candidates whose organization members attend Spiderboard events because of the belief that they were rewarding the wrong kind of behavior in favor of self-promotion. Mulcahy released this statement exclusively to Forum Magazine:
I [Liam Mulcahy] am renouncing my nomination for homecoming king. Being nominated for homecoming king as the representative of my fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order, was an honor. It meant a lot to me that the members of my organization had chosen me to run and it affirmed that my organization supports me and my work for the Richmond community.
However, I have been disheartened by SpiderBoard’s abuse of power and seeming self-promotion. This may have occurred in previous years, but this year especially, SpiderBoard has promised to augment votes for nominees whose representative organizations attend superfluous events including a “Minions movie night” and a “comedy show”. Speaking for my own organization, I know my fraternity brothers have commitments during the week that are objectively more important than attending a movie night, such as attending charity events to end Muscular Dystrophy. Kappa Alpha Order is also currently working to raise money with our event called Walk the Dogs.
I cannot, with good conscience, petition my organization to attend events I personally find a waste of time for unearned votes. I am a proud Spider because my fellow students achieve great things and work hard to achieve them. Instead of bribing students for attendance, SpiderBoard should celebrate how hard students at the University of Richmond work and how seriously they take their studies.
SpiderBoard suffers from a lack of University involvement. Often times, SpiderBoard events have lacking attendance and the students are often unenthused, despite its gratuitous budget. A majority of this [year’s] budget was spent on a homecoming concert that has been overshadowed by a fraternity concert by an artist [Lil Dicky] that the students themselves requested and is also a University alum. This indifference of students and low participation rates echoes the concerns of student athletes who complain about a lack of student attendance at games and events. It makes me question the SpiderBoard mission, which claims to “represent all students’ interests and create an inclusive and engaged community.” If it consistently fails to engage the community and falls short of its mission, why does the University continue to support it financially?
This being said, I support the decision for other nominees to continue to run. I believe that homecoming court is a friendly and fun competition that has been a tradition for the University for many years. I am merely hoping to draw attention to a newer trend of abused public relations, social media, and coerced participation. In the future, I hope the SpiderBoard concentrates its efforts to understanding the student body and reflecting what they really want, for example having a successful homecoming concert, with good attendance, that excites the student body. Until then, I have chosen not to run for homecoming king, but I appreciate the nomination and concede to my other opponents who are all equally deserving to wear that crown.
Mulcahy is thus far the only candidate to dropout of the homecoming race and, as of now, appears to be the only candidate who will likely do so. It is unclear what will happen to the votes of those individuals who have already voted for Mulcahy, and if they will be able to vote for another candidate. Regardless, we at Forum Magazine wish the candidates the best of luck in their pursuit of the crown for homecoming king and queen.
The opinions of Liam Mulcahy do not represent those of Forum Magazine or its staff.