A university president has promised to prevent a student group from holding a drag show on campus, according to reports.
West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler claimed that he would use his authority to stop the drag show in an email obtained by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). In the email Wendler asserted that drag shows are misogynistic and offensive to women and that he would oppose any performance on campus that “diminishes” another group.
“[D]rag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood,” he wrote. “As a university president, I would not support ‘blackface’ performances on our campus, even if told the performance is a form of free speech or intended humor.”
WTAMU President Walter Wendler says there’s “No Such Thing [as a] Harmless Drag Show” in a stunning statement vowing to violate the First Amendment if needed to censor a student-run drag show raising money for The Trevor Project. https://t.co/lhJ02ZaiVS pic.twitter.com/FFWmgGe2o4
— Alex Morey (@1AMorey) March 21, 2023
The West Texas A&M drag show, planned for March 31, would have raised funds for The Trevor Project. As the Daily Caller has previously reported, The Trevor Project participates in transgender activism and has promoted research touting the positive impact of medical gender transitions for minors.
Wendler’s email drew significant backlash, with some calling it a direct violation of free speech rights.
“You might naturally assume from its contents that this letter was from the president of a private religious university. But WTAMU is a state institution,” tweeted Walter Olson of the libertarian Cato Institute.
Nick Fish, the president of American Atheists, tweeted that “WTAMU is a public university” and described Wendler’s letter as “about as unconstitutional as it gets.”
FIRE responded to Wendler, condemning his attempt to shut down the drag show.
“Someone bring this man some smelling salts and a copy of the Constitution. Students have a well-established First Amendment right to organize campus drag shows and FIRE will be making sure Mr. Wendler promptly sashays out of their way,” the organization tweeted.