John Carroll University: Administration Cancels Student-Organized Drag Show

Category: Free Speech

In August 2019, John Carroll University president Michael Johnson announced to student leaders that the university’s administration was unilaterally cancelling an annual, student-organized drag show set to take place just a few weeks later. In cancelling the event, administrators cited concerns about “divisiveness.” The show has a contentious past, having been postponed in 2009 due to its “controversial nature” and criticized in a viral student newspaper opinion column in 2018. On September 10, 2019, FIRE wrote to JCU’s administration to explain that its public promises to respect students’ freedom of expression prevent the administration from prohibiting students from hosting events for fear of controversy.