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South Dakota governor calls on college board to ban drag shows and eliminate 'preferred pronouns'

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem also announced a new whistleblower hotline for complaints related to the state's colleges and universities.
Kristi Noem at the Conservative Political Action Conference
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Orlando, Fla., in 2022. John Raoux / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Republican Gov. Kristi Noem opened a hotline for complaints about South Dakota colleges and is calling on the state’s higher education governing board to ban drag shows, Noem announced Friday.

In a letter to the South Dakota Board of Regents, Noem said states have allowed “liberal ideologies to poison their colleges and universities.”

“On campuses across the country, students have been taught the importance of diversity and equity and given access to ‘safe spaces’ instead of learning to tolerate the disagreement, discomfort, and dissent that they will experience in the real world,” Noem wrote.

She called on the college oversight board to increase graduation rates, remove references to “preferred pronouns” in school materials, cut administrative costs and ensure universities are not accepting any money from China.

Noem pitched the hotline to regents as a way to “keep our institutions accountable — and ensure that we are all aware of what is happening at our taxpayer-funded colleges and universities.”

She added that information gathered from the hotline will guide policy changes.

“As I work with our Board of Regents and Board of Technical Education to chart our path for higher education, we are giving students, faculty, and parents this tool to help voice any concerns so that they can be addressed,” Noem said in a statement.

The Board of Regents in December ordered a review of university campus events and its policy on minors attending them after a drag show at South Dakota State University faced criticism from conservative lawmakers for being advertised as family friendly.