Cotillion excludes majority of students

This dance is too exclusive.

Every year, the Women’s Club of Evanston sponsors a dance that deliberately excludes many of the ETHS junior and seniors. Only a select coterie of girls will get chosen by a close friend on the board, who can only choose five girls to invite, to attend, leaving others to feel green with envy.

The dance will include fewer than 300 people, less than a quarter of the junior and senior class combined. Since Winter Formal will be cancelled this year, what is expected of the other half?

This dance is an unfair privilege that only few may be allowed. Attending a dance is a high school right of passage. To disallow some students of this privilege is insensitive.

Catherine Williams*, a Cotillion board member, admits that being a board member comes with a lot of stress and pressure in terms of invites. Williams admits that a few people have asked her to invite them to Cotillion and that the position of power can be uncomfortable and stressful at times.

However, the organization that supports Cotillion, The Women’s Club of Evanston, is extraordinarily charitable. Every year, the board fundraises for a specific organization and this year the funds will go to the YWCA’s domestic services. The YWCA helps abused, both physically and financially, women and children.

“Our goal is not to exclude by holding this event but to ameliorate the situations of people in the Evanston community,” says Cotillion board member Regina Phalange*. “I understand that many people are upset that not everyone can be invited, but the purpose is to fundraise for local organizations by holding the event.”

While the overall aim of the organization is to help the community, the idea of inviting just a few people to a dance is not the most considerate way to fundraise for the community. While the Women’s Club’s members concern are not the high school students, by inviting some and not others to a dance is unfair, even if the goal is to raise money for others.

ETHS does a fantastic job of creating an environment where all have a way to feel included and this dance creates ways to form deeper social hierarchies.

The Women’s Club of Evanston should continue to do their amazing charity work but instead of holding a dance for only 300 students, they should create another, more inclusive benefit at a venue where more can be included. It should be open to the community, regardless of any social standing. It is time that we as a community move away from such conservative traditions and progress into a more open-minded, inclusive society.


* = Name changed.