Tribe changes admissions process to be more inclusive

Kris Long, Opinions Editor

Manhattan High’s pep club, Tribe, is changing the way they admit people starting next year in an effort to be more inclusive and better represent the school. 

In past years, students have submitted an application in the spring of their junior year, which was reviewed by sponsor Haliegh Carlson and current Tribe members. From these anonymous applications, fifteen people were chosen to be next year’s Tribe members. The applications include a questionnaire as well as creating a poster and a homecoming theme. Tribe moved from entries being based on nomination by a former Tribe member to the application process a number of years ago in an attempt to open up the group, but, according to Carlson it hasn’t gone far enough. 

“We’re hoping to move away from like the cliquey aspect of tribe,” Carlson said. “They moved away from that with the application process, which was really good. But it’s still just isolated to the senior class. And we wanted to open it up to more students and have more involvement, because that’s what a spirit club should be.”

The new system will work more like StuCo does, with officers and representatives. Between eight and 10 seniors will be chosen as Tribe officers and they will enroll as Carlson’s teacher assistant like current Tribe members do. The rest of Tribe will function as a club, with anyone who would like to help from all grade levels allowed to participate as representatives. The officers will still be chosen with the anonymous application system.  

“We really want to make sure that a lot more people can be involved and that there will be more representation from all the classes,” Tribe CoPresident Morgan Day said. “We want to have some underclassmen representatives and such to get the whole student body involved.”

Another reason Tribe is eager to include underclassmen is that with all seniors, the group turns over entirely every year. This means the annual new recruits are thrown in at the deep end having no prior experience.

“[This will] pen up opportunities and for other grade levels to get experience, and if the people who are representatives have done it since their freshman year, it won’t be such a confusing thing to start when you’re a senior,” Carlson said. “Every time the seniors turnover, they graduate and we have new ones, and no one knows what’s going on. And it’s just that over and over again, so hopefully this will kind of streamline that process a little bit too.” 

Other than grade levels, Tribe hopes to open Tribe up to a wider variety of people. 

“I think Tribe now perceived as a clique, and I think that that’s what we’re trying to stay away from,” Tribe CoPresident Madeline Crocker said. “We want to include other people who have different opinions…  backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural preferences… just all different kinds of people.”

Tribe has historically had very few boys in the group and, as about 50% of the school is male, they would like to see more of boy’s opinions. 

“I really want more boys to apply for the tribe because it’s very girl dominant,” Carlson said. “I don’t have a single boy and tribe. And so I’m hoping that opening it up to representatives will encourage people to get involved even at maybe a lesser level than taking on an officer role.”

It’s no secret that Tribe tends to attract a certain group of people, even though the applications are anonymous. Another aspect of the enrollment changes is getting different social groups and interests represented.  

“There definitely has been some trends of just certain groups of people that are always in Tribe,”  Day said. “So we just want to make sure that all people regardless of what activities they’re in, or what their gender is that they can have a place if they want to.”

Tribe is often criticised for various decisions they make, from homecoming themes to game-day dress. According to Crocker this is due to a group of just fifteen people, all of whom are the same age and all of whom are girls, making decisions that are supposed to please the majority of the school.

“I know that not everyone has been pleased by some of the things we’ve done,” Cocker said. “I think that just comes with the fact that not everyone can be pleased by everything and I think that we’re trying [to do] with [the changes] is to limit that and make everyone feel more included.”