Notre Dame University President has defended the school’s decision to sponsor a drag queen show stating in an automated response that the event will happen on the grounds of “academic freedom” and “freedom of expression.”
The university’s school paper “The Irish Rover” recently reported that the Film, Television, and Theater (FTT) Department will host a school-sponsored drag show on the campus on November 3.
News about the event has drawn criticism from students of the Catholic University who wrote an email to the school’s administration stating that the invite needs to “be rescinded [and that] the University offer an apology, especially to her women, for ever considering such a degrading portrayal of femininity, and direct its funds to events that support authentic femininity and the dignity of the human person,” the Federalist reported.
In the automated response from the University President John Jenkins, those upset about the event were told that it’s a matter of “academic freedom.”
“We defend this freedom even when the content of the presentation is objectionable to some or even many,” the letter read. “The event you reference is part of a one-credit course in Film, Television and Theater on the history of drag, and the principle of academic freedom applies.”
Notre Dame Admin Defends University-Sponsored Drag Show Under The Guise Of ‘Academic Freedom’https://t.co/Wi1UZiDzvp
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) October 26, 2023
The response also stated that “the right of free expression does not, of course, extend to speech that threatens violence or constitutes harassment against an individual or a group. Such expressions violate University policies and will not be tolerated.”
The event-which is billed as featuring several drag performers– is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters Initiative on Race and Resilience, the Departments of Music and American Studies, and the Gender Studies Program, the Federalist noted.
The Rover’s editor-in-chief Nico Schmitz wrote a plea to “Students, faculty, and staff who care about preserving Notre Dame as an authentically Catholic institution [to] make their voices heard on the matter.”
In his column, he wrote that by the university “supporting lies about the human person — lies that say men can be women and that a minstrel show of femininity is a legitimate art form — the university is not only actively working against her mission, but permitting irreparable damage to its community and image.”
More than 400 people have emailed the university in opposition and if the event does happen, students who are upset have planned to host a rosary rally outside of the performance in November, the outlet noted.