Regents creating ‘minors on campus policy’ in response to drag show controversy
The Board of Regents meets Dec. 8, 2022, at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)
The board governing South Dakota’s six public universities is developing a policy about minors on campus in response to complaints about a drag show.
The South Dakota Board of Regents voted Wednesday during a Zoom meeting to have its staff immediately begin creating the policy. The board plans to review the policy during its next scheduled meeting March 29-30 in Aberdeen.
“We want our campuses to be safe and welcoming places for students, staff and visitors of all ages,” Board President Pam Roberts said in a written statement.
The new policy, Roberts said, will outline the requirements and protocols for events on campuses involving minors. In the interim, the board office will review all upcoming events involving the presence of minors on campus to confirm adequate protocol and safeguards are met, Roberts announced.
The drag show was Nov. 16 at South Dakota State University in Brookings.
Some commenters on social media praised the show, while others criticized the university for allowing it and also criticized advertising that described the show as “kid friendly.” A conservative media outlet recently criticized Republican Gov. Kristi Noem for not doing more to stop the show.
The drag show was sponsored by the student-run Gender & Sexualities Alliance.
During the public comment portion of a prior regents meeting on Dec. 8, numerous speakers criticized the drag show. Some pressed the board to support policy or law changes that would disallow future drag shows on university campuses entirely.
At that time, Board of Regents Executive Director Brian Maher said the board cannot discriminate against student groups “based on the content or viewpoint of their expressive activity.” He also said advertising for on-campus events would be required to more clearly state whether events are sponsored by the university or a student group.
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