FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The University of Arkansas Fort Smith is hosting 'Drag Queen Storytime' featuring Miss Chloe Jacobs, Miss Gay Arkansas America 2018, for students and people of all ages to de-stress ahead of final exams. But Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert is questioning why the event is being paid for with taxpayers dollars on state-owned property.
The storytime event will be held at the UAFS Boreham Library on Friday, December 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Activities include readings from children's books from Miss Jacobs, dancing, coloring, and light refreshments will be served. It's sponsored by Pride@UAFS and the River Valley Equality Center.
In a Facebook post, Sen. Jason Rapert, the Co-Chair of the ALC Higher Education Committee, said he was "apologizing to the citizens of Arkansas for the ridiculous waste of taxpayer funds by UAFS for promoting this rubbish," and "UAFS will certainly be given an opportunity to explain themselves before our legislative committee soon."
When asked if taxpayer money was being used for the event, John Post with UAFS responded, "This event was coordinated by a registered student organization on our campus, and no taxpayer or university dollars were used to bring the speaker to the storytime event."
5NEWS reached out to Sen. Rapert about UAFS not using taxpayer dollars for the event, he sent us the following statement:
"A concerned citizen informed me of the 'Drag Queen Storytime (sic)' event being held at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith Library a few days ago. I inquired about the event with the University of Arkansas Government Relations team and asked for clarification. The event had been advertised on the UAFS library Facebook page as an event including the UAFS Facebook. I am told that UAFS has not sponsored nor endorsed this event and they are requesting all references to them be removed. After hearing from many Arkansas taxpayers that they object to their taxpayer dollars being used to support an event like this-this is all very good news. I appreciate the University of Arkansas system for clarifying that they do not endorse or support the kind of event on their campus. It is worth noting that the national movement to host "Drag Queen Storytime (sic) or Story Hour" events is intentionally targeting children and I find this objectionable. I have read reports that indicate these events are specifically held to groom young children to embrace LGBTQ lifestyles. The vast majority of people in Arkansas and America disagrees. We should be mentoring our youth to become young men of character and young women of virtue in my opinion."
When asked about Sen. Rapert's comments, Miss Jacobs said, " I just don't think he has the proper education. There's no agenda with it. What I want to do here is to show that little boy or little girl that hasn't been exposed to things like this that there is alight at the endof the tunnel, you can be who you want to be no matter what."