UPDATE: Due to the loss of venue, the Lafayette Public Library and ULs Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity will be postponing the Drag Queen Story Time until a new venue is found that can accommodate the anticipated crowds.
Fraternity members, however, tell KATC that they still hope to host something on Saturday for those who already planned on attending.
The details of these events are still being planned.
SLCC says “Drag Queen Story Time” cannot be held at the campus this weekend because of security concerns. We are working to find out if and where it will be held.
In a release, South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) says they commend the Lafayette Parish Library for shining a light on diversity and inclusion within our community, particularly over the last few weeks. But they say the college’s top priority is the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors to its campuses.
Officials at SLCC say that in the days leading up to the Drag Queen Storytime event, law enforcement made them aware of individual and organizational plans to protest at a scale that was beyond their capacity to manage.
SLCC says their maximum capacity for the event is 300 people, and they know more than 1600 individuals have signed petitions about the event, and hundreds attended last month’s discussions at the Lafayette City-Parish Council.
They say with their limited security force and pursuant to Louisiana Community and Technical College System Policy #4.005, the College is unable to expand that presence as there can be “…no direct cost to the System.” In addition, they say the college has a responsibility to students taking classes Saturday to provide a setting conducive to learning, which could be severely disrupted by such a large crowd.
You’ll recall the event was moved from the Main Library building on Congress Street to South Louisiana Community College to accommodate larger crowds and because of safety concerns.
Lafayette Public Library System released the following statement:
The library was notified today by SLCC representatives that they can no longer host the Drag Queen Story Time program due to ongoing and increasing concerns regarding safety and security. With the loss of the host site, the library is forced to postpone the program until a new venue can be secured. While this is a temporary setback, the Lafayette Public Library confirms that it is not permanently cancelling the program. The library administration and its Board of Control firmly believe in carrying out its mission to serve a diverse community. In addition, many families have stood in support of this program which promotes respect and inclusiveness.
Drag Queen Story Time was conceived as a children’s program to share stories about tolerance and individuality. The program was also planned to serve as a community service project of local fraternity Delta Lambda Phi. With time and recent events, it became clear that the event would need more space than originally anticipated. Due to community involvement in support of and in opposition to the program, the library could not provide for adequate security for the intended audience – children, their parents, and a number of other individuals planning to attend the event. It has been estimated that crowd size for the event could exceed numbers which could be accommodated at the library.
Recently, the library accepted an offer from the South Louisiana Community College to host the Drag Queen Story Time program along with the SLCC Umbrella Club. That offer was accepted in mid-September, and a security plan for the event was designed in cooperation with the Lafayette Police Department and SLCC’s security force. Although the library is disappointed that the event will not take place this Saturday, it is committed to offering the program in the future.