SD Board of Regents to develop a ‘minors on campus’ policy

The South Dakota Board of Regents took action Wednesday to respond to concerns about a “kid-friendly” drag show that took place on South Dakota State University’s campus last month.
South Dakota State University tower in fall.
A drag show at South Dakota State University sparked interest by lawmakers and the state Board of Regents.
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 10:01 AM MST
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PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Board of Regents wants it’s central office to take a look at a new policy to “enhance the protection of minors on campus.”

The Regents voted unanimously at the end of their meeting Wednesday to begin to create the policy, and to have the office review “all upcoming campus events involving the presence of minors on campus” in the meantime.

Currently, there is not a policy in place that regulates events that minors attend on public campuses in South Dakota. The new policy will outline the requirements and protocols for all events on campus involving minors, and ensure all laws are observed, according to a press release after the meeting.

“We want our campuses to be safe and welcoming places for students, staff, and visitors of all ages,” said Board of Regents President Pam Roberts in a release. “To provide our universities and campus organizations with guidance on events where minors are invited, we have directed staff to expedite the formation of a Minors on Campus policy.”

It comes after backlash over a “kid-friendly” drag show event that was held at South Dakota State University last month. Monday, Roberts asked presidents at South Dakota public colleges and universities to place a “moratorium” on “minors attending events sponsored by student organizations on campus.”

While the Regents work to craft that policy, it is likely that state lawmakers returning to Pierre in January will pursue their own, aimed at preventing children from attending drag shows. Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Rapid City) said at a Board of Regents meeting in Rapid City earlier this month that she intended to bring legislation preventing children from attending drag shows, according to reporting by the Argus Leader. Frye-Mueller joins a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers looking to do so, though no draft legislation has been filed yet.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Regents will likely take place sometime in late March or early April, but there is a possibility that the Board could meet on the topic before then during a special meeting.