CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — GOP Chairman Dan Rogers sent a message to constituents asking them to sign a petition supporting West Texas A&M University president Dr. Walter Wendler.

Wendler has recently faced backlash after publishing a letter to students, faculty, and staff, where he shares the reasoning behind canceling the on-campus drag show.

In Rogers’s message to supporters, he asks that they support Wendler in his “fight against evil.”

“I think what they’re doing is trying to disrupt society and I think it’s the very definition of evil because they’re trying to make their lifestyle, something that everybody should accept, and our Constitution and our country were founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and a sense of community rules and law, not rule of man, and not what one person wants,” said Rogers.

Rogers along with faith leaders and community members supporting Wendler gathered on campus to voice their support.

Local Pastor Rick Lopez shared that he believes Wendler made the right decision.

“He’s a mighty man of valor, grit, and purpose,” said Lopez. “We need more administrators like him, that doesn’t bow to the concept of equity in inclusion. I don’t care what title they put on, you know this has got to stop. We got to stand for what is right in our nation. Otherwise, our nation will go further and further down the sewer.”

Today’s protest also included children in attendance with their parents. Lead Pastor of Accelerate Church Chris Pfiel said he is trying to shine light and truth and that is why he brought children.

“Seeing that there really is right and wrong, there really is light and dark,” said Pfiel. “The Bible is true, and they just need to see that not everyone necessarily comes from the same point of view as the Bible and that it’s important to stand for the truth.”

Rogers expressed that he believes the overwhelming majority of the Texas Panhandle supports Wendler and that they don’t agree with the woke agenda.

“We need to stand up for the rule of decorum rule of law and make these people understand that what they’re really doing is wiping out freedom because they’re not being responsible, we have a responsibility problem, people need to be responsible citizens,” said Rogers.

Rogers continued, “It takes responsibility before you can have freedom. Because we are a self-governance society. They are a constitutional republic, which means we, as individuals have to participate in our local affairs, and if we fail to do that and stand up against evil, then our country is going to be taken over by those who don’t agree with us.”

Also in attendance were protesters in support of the on-campus drag show. Members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church which supports LGBTQ issues and rights shared why it was important for them to support students.

“I think that the majority of the Unitarians believe everyone is created equal, and that we all have a right to be who we are if we’re not harming anyone else,” said Janda Raker, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship member. It’s nobody’s business. So, when the university got involved in this and blocked the rights of the group to have the drag show, we got concerned because we need the people who are here to have the right to do what they choose.”

Protesters speaking out against Wendler’s letter raised concern about the comparison to blackface and the comment stating that drag degraded women.

“Some of the statements that really inflamed the outrage to this are the comparisons to blackface or saying that drag is a mockery of women,” said Chris Hattz, a protester in favor of the show. “I would really like people to actually have a deeper understanding of what drag is. That’s a part of our community. It’s part of how we express ourselves. People who do drag can be men, women, trans men, and trans women has nothing to do with attacking cisgender women. It’s a form of expression. It’s a beautiful art.”

Students also shared that whether the show will happen regardless and they are hoping for unity.

“I would just like to see everyone just coming together, and just put away their differences,” said Emiliano Solis, WTAMU student. “I mean, everyone should just come together. I’m tired of seeing everyone being treated so terribly.”

Both groups said they plan on continuing the protest tomorrow.

The WTAMU media communication program released the following statement to surrounding this week’s events.

“On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Department of Communication, we want all our students to know that we support you and your voice matters. Our faculty members have diverse backgrounds, values, and beliefs but we all stand united in support of our students and welcome constructive dialogue. There are no doubt varying feelings about the cancellation of a student event on campus and the subsequent emails from the president, and we believe in healthy dialogue regardless of viewpoints. Please reach out to a faculty member if you have questions, need to talk, need support, or just want a good conversation.”

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