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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Enactus Produces Mr. and Mrs. UMass Boston

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Gary Uter, former candidate for Student Body President, won Mr. UMass Boston. During his interview, Uter thanked his former teacher, Heike Schotten. “At first I thought she was a man,” he said, explaining that he had been confused “because of her name.” Once Uter got over his confusion, he added, “her class made me a better person, and that’s a global fact!”

 

 

 

The UMass Boston chapter of Enactus held the Mr. and Mrs. UMass Boston pageant on March 14. Money raised from tickets to the event will help fund the group’s trip to the Northeast Regional Competition, where judges will decide which chapter has most effectively helped others in their community with their entrepreneurship and business acumen.

On Facebook, the Mr. and Mrs. UMass Boston was advertised as a competition between “seven females and seven males.” At the event, only four males competed for the title. Contestants modeled casualwear, beachwear, and formalwear. Also featured were a talent show and a Q&A session with each potential Mr. or Mrs. UMass Boston.

The competition was judged by Enactus members and Dean of Students Mark Jannoni, who left the room briefly when students got on stage in beachwear. The men wore suits, and all but one of the women wore dresses. The exception to this rule was the winner of Mrs. UMass Boston, Helen Ngo, whose casual outfit included jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap.

For the talent show, Ngo performed an interpretive dance to the Jason Mraz song “I Won’t Give Up.” While being interviewed by judges, she began to talk about her friends in the Asian Student Center, breaking out in tears.

The Mrs. UMass Boston title is the second award Ngo has received this semester. On Feb. 13, Chancellor J. Keith Motley gave Ngo a Civilian Service Medal for her part in the rescue of a fellow student who attempted to jump off a railing from the third floor of the Campus Center.

Gary Uter, former candidate for Student Body President, won Mr. UMass Boston. During his interview, Uter thanked his former teacher, Heike Schotten. “At first I thought she was a man,” he said. Once Uter got over his confusion, he added, “her class made me a better person, and that’s a global fact!”

A week after the event, Uter clarified that “the ambiguity of the name” was the reason for his assuming Schotten was male. ”She was my first college professor. I expected her to be a middle aged man.”

Some community members objected both to the pageant itself and the flyer used to advertise it, which featured a man in a tuxedo and a woman in a wedding dress. Logan Ferraro, a student in the Queer Student Center said, “They expect everyone to conform to the norms. There’s not only one male and one female…. They’re married.”

In an email, Chris Bobel, the chair of the women’s studies department, wrote, “I bet they intended no offense, but that does not mean offense was not taken by those who felt left out, or that the organizers should not be challenged to reflect on their choices.”

Enactus member Junior Peña, also contacted via email, wrote, “Enactus UMass Boston understands and appreciates the concerns mentioned….We strive to create an atmosphere that is not only all-inclusive, but encouraging, welcoming, and fun.“ 

“The mistake was unintentional,” Jannoni said. “Once they’re aware that what they did could be considered offensive,” he believes that Enactus members will consider making Mrs. UMass Boston a Miss or Ms. “Next year’s event will be much different.” 

Regarding the beachwear competition, he added, “If I’m involved next year, I’m going to make sure that portion is not in the event.”

Ngo felt that the pageant was a success. “Everyone was a fierce competitor … I’m still in shock, and very happy,” she said. Her parents, who attended the Mr. and Mrs. UMass Boston competition, were thrilled to see her take home the title.

“I want to congratulate Enactus for putting on a wonderful event,” Uter wrote in an email. “To represent the university in any capacity is truly a pleasure.”