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University responds to controversy sparked during Pride week

Sikes+Hall%2C+the+University+administration+building.
Katie Bradham, Senior Videographer
Sikes Hall, the University administration building.

Pride week events at Clemson University have elicited controversy following a campus drag show on Saturday night, leading the University to respond to “hateful and disrespectful” interactions in a message sent to all students.

“I encourage us all to be thoughtful in our interactions with each other that could be deemed hateful and disrespectful to one’s particular viewpoint,” said Chris Miller, vice president of student affairs. “Although we may not agree with individual viewpoints or choices, let’s be civil with each other.”

The statement by the University comes after a statement published by the Clemson College Republicans Sunday evening, condemning the drag show.

“This event was chock-full of sexual degeneracy that spits in the face of the Christian population that currently attends Clemson University,” said the group. “It is clear that the normalization of this type of behavior is the goal of many student organizations and university officials alike.”

Student backlash from the statement was extensive, with over 4,000 comments on the Instagram post by the group.

Other campus organizations criticized the statement by the College Republicans, including the Clemson College Democrats and Youth Democratic Socialists of America.

Pushback was not limited only to Saturday’s drag show.

A speaker at an event Sunday held by Clemson PRISM, an advocacy group focused on the inclusion of the LGBTQ community within Christianity, was interrupted by slurs and obscenities by individuals joining the call through Zoom.

Remaining Pride Week events will move to in-person with additional security measures in place, according to Caroline Avinger, chair of the Inclusion and Equity committee of the Student Senate.

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