Starting in the Spring of 2024, students and faculty can perform their own drag shows at the new Chick-fil-Gay drag club.
The drag club will take the space of the former Sub Connection and replace Chick-fil-A in the Commons.
After campus backlash from the decision to sign a contract with Chick-fil-A, administration felt the best way to offer some reprieve to students was to transform the space into a drag club with food offerings from the homophobic chicken slingers.
“We couldn’t cancel the contract, so we wanted to do our best to make sure that all students felt welcome in the space,” the president said.
The new drag club will still offer a full Chick-fil-A menu, but will not include the traditional branding of the chicken restaurant. Instead, the restaurant will feature a catwalk, pole and full-service bar dubbed the “queer beer garden.” Though Augustana will still be considered a dry campus, an exception was made for the club because drag can be considered a sport. Thus, the bar took the name of the other sporting event’s alcoholic offerings.
“I still won’t eat their homophobic chicken, but at least I can drink away the thought that administration was willing to make a decision based on money and not on student well-being,” sophomore Areyew Kiddinme said.
Recreational Services will be tasked with scheduling drag shows at the new club. Right now, Rec Services says they are hopeful they can hire more student workers to cover lunchtime shows during the week, as well as evening and midnight shows on Friday and Saturday.
“I want to make sure that it’s drag day every day at Chick-fil-Gay,” Rec Services said.
According to Rec Services, student workers will perform at most of the drag shows, but all students, staff and faculty can apply to be put on the schedule to perform.
Gaye Sandwich, the franchise coordinator for the Chick-fil-A, said she first heard about the idea for the drag club from an administrator.
“He seemed really nervous about student retention after the decision was announced,” Sandwich said. “So I wanted to make sure that there would still be a reason for students to spend their money at the new location.”
Administration declined to comment on this story.
Construction of the Chick-fil-Gay is still on hold for the next few months as a drag club redesign is drafted. While the kitchen construction could continue, administration said they want to look into redesigning the area between the club and the Back Alley, with the hope that a catwalk could weave between the drag club stage and the back alley.
“Programming space is integral to the student experience, and there’s no better programming than the support of drag performers,” administration said.