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Parish President’s appointment to the Library Board resigns after drag queen controversy

Posted at 5:03 PM, Aug 27, 2018

Joseph Gordon-Wiltz, president of the Lafayette Library Board of Control, has resigned.

This comes amid a heated controversy over the announcement of a “Drag Queen Story Time” at the Lafayette Public Library, where UL fraternity men dressed in drag, read to children about inclusiveness.

In a letter to Mayor-President Joel Robideaux and the city-parish council, Gordon-Wiltz said,

“I respectfully tender my resignation from the Lafayette Public Library Board of Control, effective immediately. In light of the pending response to the request for information regarding library programming, should you need any further information from me once Library Director Teresa Elberson produces an official response, then do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for allowing me the awesome opportunity to represent your interests on the Board.”

KATC obtained the “request for information” referenced in the above statement. Robideaux sent an e-mail on Monday to the board president, just hours before he resigned. The following is the list of information requested by Robideaux:

“A comprehensive explanation of how programming is decided, to include, but not limited to:

Is there a programming team?

If so, do they simply make recommendations or do they have some level of authority?

If so, who do they answer to?

If so, are there Minutes for the meetings?

Is the Board involved in programming?

How are recommended ages determined for programs?

Is there any subject matter that is automatically denied from programming?

A list of requested programs that were denied since January 2016. (please include any documentation (emails, etc) of those discussions)

Any and all correspondence (written or electronic) of Board members and Library Staff regarding a Drag Queen Storytime program (no date range) (I’ve copied IS&T to inform them of this request).

Any and all documentation on file related to Drag Queen Storytime program.

Lastly, please also provide me with information regarding any subject-matter “filters” placed on computers used in the Libraries and who makes that decision.”

Last week, Gordon-Wiltz talked to our media partners at the Advocate, saying he didn’t plan to interfere in the plans for Drag Queen Story Time.

Gordon-Wiltz, who serves as president of the Lafayette Public Library Board of Control, is an appointee of the mayor-president. On Tuesday, Robideaux said he “will be discussing cancellation of the event.” However, that discussion had not happened as of Friday morning, Gordon-Wiltz said in an interview with The Advocate, adding he’s “not sure if and when it will.”

If it doesn’t, Gordon-Wiltz said he won’t interfere with the library’s plans, he told the newspaper.

To read the whole story, click here.