Higher Education , Culture & the Family
Ray Carter | April 26, 2023
As OU pays drag queen $18,000, lawmakers call for defunding
When he was hired as president of the University of Oklahoma in 2020, Joseph Harroz’s contract promised him a salary of around $500,000 annually, according to one public report. That’s an average of $1,369 per day.
That’s a hefty income in Oklahoma—but it’s not drag-queen money at the University of Oklahoma.
Yvie Oddly, the headliner for this year’s University of Oklahoma annual “Crimson & Queens” drag show, will be paid $18,000 for appearing at the event, or 1,214 percent more per day than Harroz, according to information obtained from the university via a public-records request. (At the time of the university’s April 21 response, Oddly’s contract was “pending execution in the amount of $18,000” for the April 28 event.)
If salary is a signal of value, OU has ranked Oddly’s work as having far more value, on a daily basis, than Harroz’s contributions.
But Harroz has prominent company in that category.
“This should be grounds to fire the president of OU.” —State Rep. Justin Humphrey
As coach of OU’s football team, Brent Venables holds one of the highest-pressure jobs in Oklahoma. The money generated by the average 83,835 fans per OU football game in 2022 not only funds the football program, but also supports other university sports programs as well, meaning numerous jobs depend on Venables’ job performance. Even so, public reports indicate he was paid less per day in 2022 than Oddly.
When Venables was hired in late 2021, it was reported his contract provided payment of $6.4 million in Venables’ first year. That comes out to a first-year average of $17,534 per day. By donning women’s clothes and makeup, Oddly achieved nearly $500 more in daily payment than what Venables did on a typical game day during the 2022 football season.
‘Some Pervert Who Doesn’t Know What Sex He Is'
This year’s Crimson & Queens event, which the university’s website describes as “the largest annual drag show in Oklahoma” and one that highlights “internationally recognized drag queens,” will feature Oddly as headliner this year. This year’s event will take place in the McCasland Field House “to accommodate the growing size audience,” according to the OU website. Oddly was winner of the 11th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and the OU website noted that Oddly was named one of the most powerful drag queens in June 2019 by New York Magazine because of Oddly’s “ability to push the boundaries of drag performance art.”
In addition to performing, Oddly is active on Twitter. On April 23, Oddly tweeted, “If u think u saw me eating hole or slurping c--k in a parking garage at sunrise no u didn’t …unless u did.” On April 18, Oddly tweeted, “Naked guys doing hot slutty sex with their d---s and butts and holes #xxx,” followed by a tweet with a fingers-crossed emoji “that the algorithm understands my wishes.” On April 12, Oddly tweeted, “My biggest dream in life is to try 100% pure cocaine before I die.” In a March 11 tweet reviewing a drag-queen show, Oddly described two participants as performing “two of the C—NTIEST lip syncs in the whole franchise.” On Feb. 10, Oddly tweeted, “Now to take this monster c--k to Vancouver…” [Messages were not hyphenated in the original.]
The amount paid to Oddly for a drag-queen performance has caused some lawmakers to question financial management and priorities at the university.
“Having watched the direction our state universities have gone with wokeness, DEI, and other attempted indoctrination of Oklahoma’s young people, it should not be surprising to see the recent rise of Drag Queen shows and story hours in these same institutions,” said state Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman. “But finding out that my own alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, is paying $18,000 to a drag queen performer to push transgenderism on Oklahoma’s college students, is disturbing, despicable, and absolutely against the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Oklahoma citizens who are paying for such shows through their hard-earned tax dollars and tuition.”
“Taxpayers should demand all public funds be removed from our public universities until they again respect the beliefs of the parents and grandparents that make up the bulk of taxpayers…” —State Sen. Rob Standridge
The event has also caused some officials to question the amount of state appropriations provided to Oklahoma colleges.
“This should be grounds to fire the president of OU,” said state Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane. “And this should be something that we as the Legislature should take up and draw a line in the sand and say, ‘No more will we support a college who pushes a woke, perverted agenda.’”
“The solution is simple: Taxpayers should demand all public funds be removed from our public universities until they again respect the beliefs of the parents and grandparents that make up the bulk of taxpayers funding their ongoing agenda to seed racism and push leftist ideologies,” Standridge said.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has asked lawmakers to provide an additional $105 million in state taxpayer funding this year to state colleges, including OU.
The OU Open Records Office stated that the $18,000 paid to Oddly will come “from the distributed Student Activity Fees.”
“No state appropriations or student tuition were used to support this event,” the letter stated.
However, OU Bursar Services includes student activity fees on a list of mandatory enrollment fees imposed on OU students, meaning they are similar to tuition.
Humphrey noted state appropriations to colleges free up other funds, such as mandatory student fees, that can then be directed to other purposes at Oklahoma colleges and universities, so the distinction between appropriation funding and student-fee funding is effectively meaningless, he said.
“To me, if they can afford this, then we don’t need to be giving them appropriations,” Humphrey said. “They could have used that $18,000 on something different. And we can spend the $18,000 on a state highway, on cancer research, on something significant, not some pervert who doesn’t know what sex he is.”
[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit AimHigherOK.com.]
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.