California State University, Stanislaus, wanted a famous-name speaker who could generate a lot of attention at the small school in the San Joaquin Valley. Stanislaus State was hosting a fundraiser in June and students and faculty supported the idea of doing anything to raise a few hundred thousand for the college, which has about 6,000 students.
Complaints and questions have descended on the California State University, Stanislaus, Foundation since it announced last week that former vice presidential candidate and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would headline a black-tie fund-raiser in June for the university’s 50th anniversary celebration.
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.” 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.
Some have also complained about Palin’s speaking fee, probably in excess of $100,000. At the end of the day, well, it’s a fundraising event so whatever.
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.
It’s not like Palin’s being made a visiting professor or even getting an honorary degree from the school. The event either raises money for the school or it doesn’t. Tickets to the $500 a plate dinner are reportedly selling briskly. [Image via]