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SCC will not host NEGOP fundraiser amid push for trans bathroom, sports restrictions

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SCC will not host NEGOP fundraiser amid push for trans bathroom, sports restrictions

Sep 19, 2023 | 7:02 pm ET
By Zach Wendling
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SCC will not host NEGOP fundraiser amid push for trans bathroom, sports restrictions
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State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha speaks Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in La Vista, Neb. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the NEGOP.

LINCOLN — A NEGOP fundraiser and roundtable discussion originally scheduled at Southeast Community College this week will instead be hosted Thursday at the NEGOP headquarters.

A spokesperson for SCC confirmed Tuesday the event will not be held at any SCC location but has “no further comment,” such as the circumstances that led to the location change. The ticketed event was originally scheduled for SCC’s James J. Huck Continuing Education building in Lincoln. The fundraiser includes sponsorships at $500, $1,000 and $1,500.

The Thursday event is being sponsored by State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha and billed as continuing discussions around Kauth’s Legislative Bill 575, the Sports and Spaces Act. LB 575 would define K-12 bathrooms, locker rooms and sporting teams as male or female based on students’ sex at birth. 

Kauth will lead the Thursday discussions on LB 575, which she has said will be her priority bill next year. Some of Kauth’s colleagues expressed hesitation this summer, and the bill has not advanced from the Education Committee. However, supporters are working to garner support ahead of 2024. 

LB 575 is one of 230 bills the American Civil Liberties Union is tracking nationwide dealing with LGBTQ rights in schools and education. Two Nebraska school districts — Kearney and Norfolk — passed policies this year regulating sports and activities similar to LB 575.

In a campaign email to volunteers and supporters this week, Kauth blamed the location change on “the ultra-radical leftist website Seeing Red [Nebraska].” Kauth said Seeing Red “attacked them [SCC] for having an anti-trans hate speech fundraiser at a public institution.”

Kauth said calling the event an “anti-trans hate speech fundraiser” characterizes Seeing Red’s view, not her own.

“Anti-trans is the biased, derogatory term used to describe this subject and these bills,” Kauth said in a text, describing LB 575 as protecting children.

Seeing Red Nebraska, an online group that provides “commentary on Nebraska politics from the left,” said it brought attention to the event but did not demand its cancellation. SCC policy prohibits the use of campus facilities “for commercial use.”

“No matter how much they cry about Nebraskans standing up for their rights in the face of their fascism, they are NOT the victims,” Seeing Red said in a Tuesday email to supporters. “They are welcome to hold their little hatefests in the NEGOP office with the shoddy air conditioning and the perpetually broken windows.”

Dawn Liphardt, executive director of the NEGOP, said in a Wednesday night email her organization wants to be fair to SCC and not necessarily speak for the college.

“The story is pretty simple,” Liphardt said. “A public venue booked an event.”

Liphardt blamed the location change on “a small group of people” and said the backlash indicates there is “no space left to have civil dialogue and discourse in Lincoln, Nebraska.”

Kauth said in her campaign email she is requesting public records at SCC to see whether administrators deny all fundraisers from all political parties.

Editor’s note: This story has been revised to correct Seeing Red Nebraska’s stance on the event.