COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Draggieland is a popular event at Texas A&M University put on to support and showcase the LGBTQ+ community. It has been going on for two years and become one of the most anticipated events at Texas A&M.
The program found great success, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Being named program of the year in 2021 and even having famous drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race host and perform at previous events.
Yet, student leaders of the organization said that didn’t stop Texas A&M officials from stepping in and removing the program from the University's official MSC Town Hall Event List.
Mikayla Andrade of KAGS News talked with Frey Miller (they/them), Draggieland Advocacy Chair and student leader of an LGBTQ+ organization called Transcend, one of four organizations that had to scramble to keep Draggieland alive.
"Draggieland is a drag show event that started on campus in the spring of 2020, and Draggieland in both 2020 and 2021 was sponsored by MSC Town Hall," Frey said. "When events are programmed within MSC Town Hall basically they receive access to university funding for those events and they also are allowed to have university branding on the events."
Frey detailed how in August of 2021, Draggieland attempted to file their event paperwork for the 2022 show but was given a verbal notice that the event wouldn't be allowed to submit paperwork and the University would no longer be associated with the event.
The organization tried numerous times to contact school officials about why the decision was made, going as far as to get allied faculty to file a FOIA request against school officials. Yet we're still unable to get any clear answers.
KAGS News reached out to the school officials as well, but also never received a reply or a comment. On April 13, Vice President of Student Affairs, Joe Ramirez, announced he would be at the Student Government meeting at 7:30 p.m. to answer questions regarding the controversial decisions he's made over the past year. This included dissociating Draggieland from the university and cutting off the organization from funds and official A&M branding.
Ramirez said his reason for the controversial decision was that the program was already self-sufficient. That the funds taken from Draggieland could be used for organizations that don't have those resources.
“First off, I didn’t disallow anything, I’ve seen the word disallow, forbid, ban, I didn’t disallow anything,” Ramirez said. "We looked at Draggieland, it had been successful for the previous two years from a financial perspective and as a result, I made the decision to say okay, we've been successful let's let the student organizations host it and we can use that money for other programs."
Later in the meeting, Ramirez was pressed about where these extra funds ended up but was unable to give a clear answer. He did offer hypotheticals as to what the funds could be used for.
Student leaders of Draggieland said the decision to have the student organization take over sole control over the event was never properly communicated and that they are unsatisfied with this response.
Despite all the struggles to get the event back up and running this year, Frey said the Queens are going to shine through all opposition and they hope the ticket sales make it so they can continue to put on the event for years to come.
This year’s show is this upcoming Monday and you can purchase the tickets through the MSC box office.
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