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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M Board of Regents sued regarding WTAMU drag show cancellation

Photo by Cameron Johnson

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of West Texas A&M students following the cancellation of a student drag show scheduled to take place on campus.

The lawsuit was filed on Friday, March 24, in the U.S. District Court in Amarillo. The plaintiffs in the filing are listed as Spectrum WT, an LGBTQ+ student organization at WTAMU, along with two student leaders, Barrett “Bear” Bright and Lauren “Laur” Stovall, according to the FIRE website. The defendants are listed as WTAMU President Walter Wendler, WTAMU Vice President Christopher Thomas, A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp and all A&M System Board of Regents members.

The lawsuit comes less than a week after Wendler announced the cancellation of the drag show on campus via a Monday, March 21, email titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing.” In the email, Wendler says God’s image is the basis of natural law and that drag shows do not conform to that.

“Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity?” Wendler’s email reads. “I think not.” 

Since the release of the email, students at WTAMU have continued to protest against Wendler’s decision and are demanding his resignation, according to an article by The Texas Tribune.

Wendler’s cancellation of the event at a public university is a violation of the First Amendment, according to FIRE.

“Drag shows, as with other forms of theater, are forms of expression that government officials — like administrators of public universities — can’t suppress just because they find them offensive,” the FIRE website reads.

The A&M System was not available for comment at the time of publication.

A full article regarding the cancellation of the WTAMU drag show and the lawsuit to come.

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