South Dakota State University faced backlash this week for an on-campus drag show where children were encouraged to bring money to tip the performers.
State lawmakers objected to the event ahead of time and asked University President Barry Dunn to “use his authority” to ensure children weren’t present.
“Mr. President, this is a completely inappropriate thing to expose children to, and use of taxpayer funds or resources for this event is not appropriate,” South Dakota Rep. Jon Hansen wrote in a letter to Dunn, according to local news outlets.
The event took place Wednesday night at the university’s Brookings campus and was hosted by the school’s Gender and Sexualities Alliance, according to an event description.
“GSA is hosting a professional drag show that will include talented local performers from around the Midwest. Show your support for the drag queens by bringing $1 or $5 bills to tip if you choose,” the event description says. “This show will be kid-friendly, so bring the whole family for an evening of entertainment!”
State Rep. Chris Karr said the university’s website indicated the event “was sponsored by the SDSU Office of Multicultural Affairs.”
“It is hard to believe that the Board of Regents or SDSU feels it is appropriate to have an event where ‘drag show,’ ‘bring money to tip,’ and ‘kid friendly’ are used in the same sentence. I don’t believe that the taxpayers of South Dakota would find this appropriate, nor want their tax dollars spent on this event,” Karr wrote in a letter to the school.
President Dunn then issued a statement to local media in which he apologized “for the miscommunication” surrounding the event.
“The sponsor of this event is the Gender and Sexualities Alliance student organization, and not South Dakota State University or its Office of Multicultural Affairs,” he claimed. “Registered student organizations are free to sponsor lawful events on campus in accordance with SDCL 13-53-52 and applicable policy. This event is being put on by the GSA student group and not supported by university funds.”
Video of the drag show was published on social media and shows half-naked performers accepting tips from the audience.
South Dakota State University held a “family-friendly” drag show where they encouraged kids to bring cash to tip the drag queens.
Here’s some footage of the “family-friendly” drag event. pic.twitter.com/xcdiT49vAk
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