Students at South Dakota State University, who are part of the school's Gender and Sexualities Alliance, received a bomb threat after hosting a drag show that Libs of TikTok posted a false video about online.
On November 25, SDSU's Gender and Sexualities Alliance was contacted by the University Police Department to notify them that somebody sent a threatening email promising retaliation following its November 16 drag show to a local news affiliate, TheDaily Beastreports.
The university reportedly posted a bulletin on its website that read, "an explosive device or devices were placed on the campus of South Dakota State University."
Despite not explicitly naming the GSA in the bulletin, four group members claim their faculty advisors were notified of a threat against them.
Members of the GSA are critical of the university for not publicly acknowledging the threats against the group, citing that it took two weeks for the campus police to notify the affected LGBTQ+ students of the incident.
"I didn't find out from UPD," student Lindsay Tul told The Daily Beast. "I found out from the Discord that we have for our board members. I was freaking out because I didn't know how serious it was and if we were in danger. I was afraid for my friends and if something was going to happen to them."
The GSA advertised the November 16 family-friendly drag show on the school's website and drew immense criticism, similar to other drag-related events across the country.
Conservatives and far-right provocateurs have spent months demonizing drag queens with the false smear that these artists are sexualizing children and grooming kids for sexual abuse.
One right-wing media outlet, The Federalist, dedicated a lengthy online article to the event, accusing South Dakota's Republican governor, Kristi Noem, of looking the other way while children were being endangered.
"South Dakota State University hosted a "kid-friendly" drag show, on state property and in a taxpayer-funded building, that may be illegal under the state's "harmful to minors" legislation, yet the state's Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has not taken any steps to rectify the situation," the website wrote.
The SDSU president denied that state funds were expended on the drag show. He explained that the school did not sponsor the drag show, so no tax money was spent.
Before the bomb threat, as word of the event spread, performers slated to participate started receiving death threats.
After the event, on November 18, Chaya Raichik's Libs of TikTok account on Twitter targeted the group.
The account posted a video that GSA members said was not from the event, calling into question whether the show had been family-friendly. The Daily Beast confirmed that the clip misrepresented the event, showing performers and outfits not present at the night's show.
In anticipation of disruptions, university police officials assigned officers to the event who, according to The Daily Beast, checked bags at all entrances and kept an eye on the crowd to thwart any potential violence.
Campus police officials continue to investigate the incident.