Precedent's on school president's side

Precedent's on school president's side

Precedent's on school president's side

Despite what FIRE claims, an advocate for family values asserts that the president of a Texas university did not violate the Constitution when he cancelled a student-planned drag show.

As AFN recently reported, West Texas A&M President Walter Wendler explained in a letter to school staff and students that he cancelled the drag event because such shows demean women and go against his personal religious beliefs.

Despite the pushback that ensued, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz believes Wendler did the right thing.

"The president of the university has the authority to make decisions like this," he notes. "There's no constitutional right to have a drag queen sexual show on a college campus, and so he's got a legal authority … and I think it says a lot that he cancelled this event."

Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which is representing the LGBTQ+ student group Spectrum WT and two of its leaders in the lawsuit, claims President Wendler only has the constitutional right to criticize the show, not to, as they see it, violate student freedom of speech.

Saenz, Jonathan (Texas Values) Saenz

"College presidents can't silence students simply because they disagree with their expression," said FIRE attorney Adam Steinbaugh in an announcement. "The First Amendment protects student speech, whether it's gathering on campus to study the Bible, hosting an acid-tongued political speaker, or putting on a charity drag show."

Saenz, however, insists that President Wendler did not violate the Constitution.

"The First Amendment litigation precedent is very clear that you can make decisions based on time, place, and manner," he notes. "This manner of sexual performance has no place on a college campus."

The drag show, advertised as a fundraiser for an LGBTQ+ suicide prevention organization, was scheduled for March 31.