The University of Connecticut has just raised tuition rates by 6.5 percent.
From a donor fund, this university paid $251,250 to Hillary Clinton for one speech on its campus in April, reported the Washington Post on July 3.
The Post also reported that Hillary was paid $300,000 for one speech at UCLA in March. And while she was also paid for speeches at the University of Buffalo, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Simmons College and the University of Miami, officials at these schools “refuse to say what they paid Clinton.”
At the University of Nevada at Las Vegas where officials have agreed to raise tuition by 17 percent, student government leaders wrote a letter to Hillary asking her to return the planned $225,000 fee to the university. If she does not, they say, they intend to protest her visit.
Such a protest surely stimulates our imagination. Campuses across the country are notorious for protest groups. What if there is a nationwide campus protest movement in which campus appearances by Hillary are repeatedly interrupted by one student heckler after another?
“The students are outraged about this ($225,000 lecture fee to Hillary),” said Elias Benjelloun, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas student body president. “When you see reckless spending, it just belittles the sacrifices students are asked to make. … I think she should come for free.”
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill declined to respond in any way to this UNLV challenge.
The powerful Harry Walker Agency is the speaker’s bureau that manages Clinton’s appearances – and surely not without receiving a hefty percentage of those lecture fees.
What will Harry Walker do if there begins a nationwide series of Hillary speech interruptions – with one heckler removed, followed by Hillary needlings by another, and another?
Don Walker, president of Harry Walker, refused to comment.
Devin Murphy, UCLA’s undergraduate student body president: “You can’t deny that Hillary Clinton has had vast experience in public service to our nation, but I am a bit concerned that $300,000 was spent for her to come. I am personally a low-income student of color at our university, and I recognize the importance of being fiscally responsible.”
Professor Harry Lewis, former undergraduate dean at Harvard, said that speaking fees at Clinton’s level amount to “an extravagant form of advertising. … What makes fees at this level outrageous … is that one speaker’s fee becomes comparable to what it costs to educate a student for several years. At the same time, you’re putting your students into serious debt, as most institutions do. …”
Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which highlights waste in higher education, said that Clinton’s speaking fees raise “real questions about priorities of universities at a time when many of them are crying poor.”
Media wishing to interview Les Kinsolving, please contact [email protected].