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College Heights Herald editorial regarding discrimination in the Miss Western pageant.

Bowling Green sophomore Lisa Caswell experienced a few weeks ago what some have been fighting for centuries . . . discrimination.

One has only to turn on the television to see battles continually fought by minorities, gays seeking acceptance or women seeking equality. But Caswell is fighting a different battle.

Caswell was interested in entering the Miss Western pageant because of the $1,000 scholarship it awards to the winner. But Caswell said she was told not to participate after pageant coordinator Judy Woodring discovered she had a daughter.

Caswell said she was told the contest was ideally for virgins. But in today's society, virginity until marriage is no longer the norm. So why should it be a requirement to enter the pageant? Far more value is placed on honesty and integrity, ambition and determination than the simplistic standard of remaining a virgin.

Woodring declined to comment on the situation and a reporter was unable to get copies of either the Miss Western pageant rules or the rules for the Miss America pageant which sets the standards for Western's contest.

If a virgin rule for these pageants does exist, how do pageant coordinators determine it? A candidate can easily lie in response to a question on an application or in an interview. Even physical examination can be inaccurate.

If there is no rule, then Woodring should not be afraid to discuss the issue and both the Miss Western and Miss America pageant rules should become public knowledge.

President Thomas Meredith has promised that the pageant policies will be investigated to their fullest - as they should be. Because if such discrimination, or any discrimination, does exist at Western, what kind of example is being set for society?

As a university, Western is supposed to represent education, not ignorance. It is supposed to open students' minds, not close them. It should open the doors of opportunity, not slam them in our faces.

By endorsing a pageant that might discriminate against certain sexual practices, Western not only sets a bad example for its students, but it also humiliates the very soul of its purpose. Western should educate not discriminate.


Western Kentucky University, Beauty Contests, Beauty Queens, Discrimination