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, she 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.
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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.
An Associated Press request for comment to the regents was not immediately returned Friday.
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 wrote that information gathered from the hotline will guide policy changes.
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“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.
Republican Tim Rave, a former South Dakota House speaker and Noem appointee, leads the Board of Regents. Noem recently appointed two new members to the board: Jim Lochner, formerly of Tyson Foods, and Doug Morrison, the former Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis director.
On Friday, Noem said she plans to make more appointments soon.
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.
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