Central College, located in Pella, is a private, four-year liberal arts college. According to its website, Central “values its long-standing relationship with the Reformed Church in America.”
The college’s mission statement says, “The College nurtures the development of the mind, while fostering spiritual and emotional maturity and physical well-being.”
Despite being a private, Christian college, Central hosted a drag show called “Dutch in Drag.” The event, which was sponsored by Central College’s Common Ground group (LGBT group), in collaboration with Central College’s Campus Activities Board. CAB is Central’s official programming board.
The event was held at the Graham Conference Center located on Central’s campus.
According to Denise Lamphier, director of integrated marketing communications and media, the event has been held for several years.
She said it’s a student event and put on by Common Ground in collaboration with CAB, ADE and APO.
“This year they raised funding for Room For All, a non-profit organization that supports, educates and advocates for the welcome and full affirmation of people of all sexual orientation, gender identities and gender expressions in the Reformed Church in America,” Lamphier said. “I’ve been told that this year’s event was successful and raised more than $400.”
Only students were in attendance, according to Lamphier, as arranged by Campus Activities Board.
When asked how the college views this event in light of the Reformed Church in America’s teachings, Lamphier issued the following statement.
“Central’s diverse community is open and welcoming. We are a community committed to a campus climate of care and mutual respect that also recognizes the free, open and civil exchange of ideas. The college community seeks opportunities to experience and appreciate the diversity of cultures and perspectives present on campus, in the United States and the world, recognizing the necessity to relate knowledgeably and sensitively in an increasingly complex environment where diversity is to be valued.”
The Iowa Standard followed up by referring to the school’s mission statement. We asked Lamphier how the drag event, which features men dressed up as women dancing for dollar bills, fulfills the school’s mission statement of nurturing “the development of the mind, while fostering spiritual and emotional maturity.”
Lamphier simply referred back to her statement and referred The Iowa Standard to the college’s complete welcome statement, which can be found here.
The advertisement for the drag show encouraged attendees to bring singles for tips, with all proceeds going to Room For All. It also promoted a cash bar.
According to Central’s alcohol and drug policy, the on-campus use, possession, dispensation, distribution, manufacture or sale of alcohol by a student and/or a guest, regardless of age, is prohibited except as permitted by the Central College President for specific college-sponsored events/functions.
The Iowa Standard sent Lamphier some follow-up questions.
We asked for more information on CAB. We also asked who approves of usage of Central College facilities. And finally, we asked for clarity on the school’s alcohol policy in terms of this event.
An email was also sent to the Central College President and his office.
We have not yet received a response.