You may remember from the article I ran the other day that Rutgers University paid Snooki $32,000 to appear at a student event last week. Apparently, they have received so much negative attention for this move that they felt the need to issue a statement.
Rutgers University’s Statement On Snooki
The first thing that The State University of New Jersey wants you to know is that the money didn’t come from their state funding or tuition:
No state funds, tuition money, or donor contributions are used for these events. The students use funds designated for student programming. The show was promoted as a comedy act, not an academic program or lecture.
Unfortunately, this is nothing more than a game of semantics. While the funds didn’t officially come from tuition, they did come from mandatory student activity fees. All undergraduate students are required to pay these fees along with their tuition in order to take classes. This means that every student who had to work during the semester, beg their parents to sell assets, take a few years off after high school in order to work and save money, or even take out loans, did so (in part) to subsidize a visit from Snooki!
At this point, I don’t even care what they spent the money on (ok…yes I do!), but I do care that they are misrepresenting how they spend the money of hard working students and parents! They force every student to pay into this pool of money that they used to pay Snooki – to make a statement pretending that this money was completely separate from the money that they get from students in the form of tuition just isn’t right.
After explaining that even though every student was forced to pay this money, it’s ok because it wasn’t labeled “tuition” on the term bill, they had this to say:
The cost for her appearance included the fee for Adam Ace, a comedian who has been named College Comedian of the Year by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities, and the booking fee.
So, because Snooki paid her sidekick and booking agent from her $32,000 fee, that should make this waste of money acceptable? That’s like bringing in a monkey and paying $100,000 – then when people call you out about wasting money, you say, “Yeah well, that money also had to pay for his food, trainer, and diaper…so it’s fine”!
[No, I'm not comparing Snooki to a monkey! I'm simply making the point that just because a huge waste of money has more than one component, that doesn't make it any less of a waste!]
The Rutgers University statement on Snooki tried to ease concerns once more:
The show was promoted as a comedy act, not an academic program or lecture.
So they decided to spend $32,000 on a comedy act that only went for a couple of hours? I guess this is supposed to make outraged parents, students, and New Jersey taxpayers feel better about them wasting money. Essentially they are saying, “It’s fine that she didn’t provide any educational or career advice, because we planned it that way”.
As a reminder, here are a few of the financial realities going on at RU:
The State University of New Jersey’s Budget Crisis
Rutgers University has not paid raises to their staff since 2008 – this represents a breach of contract by the university in both 2009 and 2010 (and it is expected to happen again this year)
The State University of New Jersey has only given its faculty members 25% of their contractually obligated salary increases since 2008
New Jersey has cut higher education funding over the last few years
Rutgers has increased tuition rates for students in each of these years
The university actually has departments/units that are losing money
Over the last few years, there have been many athletic and academic programs that have been cut
The university has laid off a number of staff members
As I said in the previous article, I know that $32,000 will not solve all of these problems, but this move has caused one of the top universities in the nation to look terrible in the eyes of many prospective students and their parents. Then to issue this type of response that simply plays on the intelligence of all who are concerned, makes the situation that much worse.
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