Notre Dame students hold prayer vigil in protest of campus drag show

More than 250 students and community members attended the event to oppose the performance on the Catholic school's campus.

Over 1,200 individuals emailed Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins out of concern, who responded with a defense of the event as an expression of 'academic freedom.'

On Nov. 3, approximately 250 members of the community at the University of Notre Dame held a prayer vigil in front of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center to protest a “drag show” being held on campus.

The show featured three drag performers in total, including one student. As previously reported by Campus Reform, the event was held as part of a one-credit course, “What a Drag: Drag on Screen - Variations and Meanings,” which “provides an overview of the history of drag performance on screen.” 

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Before the protest, more than 1,200 people emailed the school in protest following a template asking that the “University offer an apology, especially to her women, for ever considering such a degrading portrayal of femininity.”

University President Father John Jenkins responded to the complaints in an automated email, citing academic freedom.

“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”, the email read. Jenkins also wrote that, “We defend [academic] freedom even when the content of the presentation is objectionable to some or even many.”

Jose Rodriguez, one of the coordinators of the protest spoke with Campus Reform. Rodriguez built the website used to send over a thousand emails to the administration against the event and serves as the treasurer of the Notre Dame College Republicans.

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“It is a tragedy that the drag show was allowed to take place on campus,” Rodriguez said. “We should not tolerate this level of degeneracy on campus that openly mocks the natural gender roles created by God.” 

He continued, “Though the University administration uses academic freedom as an excuse, there is no logical argument that leads to the conclusion that sin can help us achieve Notre Dame’s commitment ‘to the pursuit of the truth” (from Notre Dame’s mission statement.’” 

Seht Atisha, a Law Student at Notre Dame, shared a similar sentiment.

“Particularly concerning is how one of the performers, Lúc Ami, identifies as an ‘Alien Drag Deity,’” she told Campus Reform. “Notwithstanding the crudeness, immodesty, and mockery of women inherent in any drag show, hosting someone who considers themselves a deity is arguably a greater affront to the university’s Catholic identity.”

Campus Reform has reached out to the Notre Dame Media Relations Department for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.