Palin’s CSU Secret Speaking Fee Causes Outrage Over Her ‘Anti-Intellectual’ and ‘Polarizing Rhetoric’
March 30, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The university foundation of California State University, Stanislaus, is under fire for hiring Sarah Palin to speak at a $500 per ticket, gala black-tie fundraising event in June, to celebrate the university’s 50th anniversary. The foundation is refusing to disclose Palin’s fee. And Students, professors and even a state lawmaker, point to the former half-term governor of Alaska’s vitriol, divisiveness and her hefty speaking fees of at least $100,000, as not appropriate for a University celebration. Her lack of intellectual curiosity is cited by Zoology Professor Patrick Kelly, who started an anti-Palin Facebook page, pointing out her distinct lack of academic accomplishments. In other woods, the academic community of CSU is outraged and embarrassed to have their school’s 50th anniversary celebration represented by a know-nothing, polarizing woman, whose major contribution to the public discourse has been inflammatory rhetoric, such as “palling around with terrorists” and “death panels,” which won PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year award.
Matt Swanson, president of the university foundation, is not concerned with the negative reaction to his choice of Palin as a speaker. He says his main objective is to raise cash and, just like a three-headed monkey, Palin will draw a crowd and hopefully encourage attendees to open their wallets.
“At the end of the day, we need to have people invigorated and excited about writing a big check,” Swanson said. “We knew she was going to be super popular and super unpopular. She was the best fund-raising choice we could make.”
Swanson is refusing to release the amount of Palin’s speaking fee, saying the speaking contract prohibits disclosure, but he claims that no outstanding donations have gone towards the hiring of Palin. “This event is being 100 percent funded with fresh, private money coming into the foundation,” he said.
But at a time when the University is slashing budgets and canceling classes, the academic community is incensed at the idea of handing someone like Sarah Palin $100,000.
Regardless of her popularity and a fresh infusion of donor funds to pay for her appearance, critics of the decision to hire Palin will not be rebuffed. State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, issued a press release demanding that the foundation reveal what it’s paying Palin.
Yee directed his letter to Campus President Hamid Shirvani, who also serves as the chair of the foundation: “The sensational nature of former Governor Palin’s political commentary, coupled with an ongoing book tour, has allowed her to charge top dollar for speaking engagements.” [...] “The CSU should immediately disclose how much money is being diverted from students to pay Sarah Palin’s exorbitant speaking fees,” said Yee.
Yee’s chief of staff, Adam Keigwin, said “The foundation is there solely for the purpose of helping students,” Keigwin said. “If money for scholarships is going into the pocket of Sarah Palin — or anybody — the public should know.”
Swanson responded to Yee’s criticism, by thanking him for the free publicity.
And a student group is planning a counter 50th anniversary celebration, which will be free or for a minimal cost and is scheduled in May, when the majority of students are still on campus.
Professor Kelly’s Facebook page, “Sarah Palin, Terrible Choice for 50th Anniversary of CSU Stanislaus,” already has about 900 members. He writes on his anti-Palin Facebook page that her hiring by the CSU foundation to headline a gala 50th anniversary event is an insult and a slap in the face to educated people everywhere:
“For many reasons, Mrs. Palin is an unsuitable choice to headline the gala event to celebrate the university’s 50-year existence. She is widely regarded as anti-intellectual, and her polarizing rhetoric and intolerance of views that differ from her own run counter to the very “Idea of a University” (cf. Cardinal John H. Newman, 1801-90). However, perhaps the most important reason is this gala anniversary should be about the institution and education, not focused on a celebrity-politician who has no familiarity with the former and no record of accomplishment with the latter,” Prof. Kelly writes.
Source: The Modesto Bee