The University of Wisconsin–Stout’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) will be holding their annual Fall Drag Show on Oct. 30. Kelsey Galbraith, the GSA’s promotions coordinator, printed 100 posters advertising the event. These posters were put up in buildings throughout UW–Stout’s campus bulletin boards on Oct. 4.
There were three posters in Bowman Hall on three different floors. A few days later, Galbraith found that these posters had been removed. At first, she believed that this was due to a time limit rule on posters or a broken rule.
According to Galbraith, she followed the protocol for putting up the posters, so she was a little confused. She reached out to a faculty member in Bowman Hall to find that no rules had been broken. The faculty member sent an email which eventually made its way to Interim Chancellor Patrick Guilfoile.
Galbraith found this very helpful. She appreciates how much UW–Stout cares about the situation.
After learning about this situation, Interim Chancellor Guilfoile sent a school-wide email. It said, “This kind of censorship aimed at one of our student organizations will not be tolerated.” Interim Chancellor Guilfoile will be attending a GSA meeting on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.
The email also asked the student(s) that removed the posters to return them to the Dean of Students Office in Bowman Hall. The email also said, if it is discovered who has removed the posters without their return, the individual(s) will face consequences.
According to Dominique Vargas, the associate dean of students for equity, diversion and inclusion, no new information about the poster removal have been discovered. New posters were also placed in Bowman Hall.
“UW–Stout does everything possible to offer its students, employees and visitors a welcoming and inclusive environment in which to learn and work,” the email from Interim Chancellor Guilfoile said. “We also value the rights of everyone to freely express their views without attempts at censorship.”
Vargas stated that the direct communication from Interim Chancellor Guilfoile is something students have been looking for. She hopes this will develop the communication between administration and students.
Jacob Klitz, the event coordinator of the GSA, oversees the drag show. According to him, he booked the Great Hall, the performers, and organized the event with help from the rest of the executive board.
Klitz was sad when the posters were removed, but he wasn’t surprised. “While I have seen a lot of diversity, especially in terms of their LGBTQIA+ population, I have also seen my fair share of people that actively are against LGBTQIA+ people and people of color,” he said. “It’s a strange dynamic to say the least.”
According to Klitz, drag is an important part of the UW–Stout community. He says that it offers a safe way to express and explore gender in a fun environment.
Klitz has not heard of this event affecting anyone within the LGBTQIA+ community on campus.
“To the student—or students—that ripped down our posters, I offer you love,” Klitz said. “This world is too divided and too hate-fueled that the only response I can offer is ‘you are still loved.’ You are loved even if your intent was hate.”
“To the students, faculty or community that was affected by this, I am here for you,” Klitz said. “I invite anyone that was affected to join GSA where we can continue to have these conversations and work through those emotions as a community.”
The annual Fall Drag Show will be at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall at the Memorial Student Center (MSC) on Wednesday, Oct. 30.