Meeting with student leaders last week, John Carroll University president broke the news that the annual campus drag show would not go on as planned this semester.
The JCU event, which was known to showcase local drag talent and feature a question and answer session post-performance, has run yearly since 2013 and reportedly
attracted around 150 people last year.
After that performance, a viral student
opinion piece stirred controversy with its anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. The author Declan Leary, op/ed editor of the Carroll News
at the time, even called upon school president Michael D. Johnson to end the campus drag show and "purge this place of the evils which have invaded it in the names of tolerance and progress."
Following the article's publication and subsequent backlash, various school officials spoke with Leary and his editors, but the Carroll News stood by
the piece, citing the First Amendment. The newspaper later printed letters to the editor that supported the drag show and LGBTQ students.
In the recent meeting with students, Johnson reportedly
said he wanted to take a neutral stance on the whole debate and that not having the drag show could help accomplish that goal.
Students in both student government and LGBTQ groups on campus plan
to protest the decision in the weeks to come as well as offer various educational forums surrounding the topic. Plans for drag queens to be a part of the school's diversity week are still in the works.
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