Six years after Jersey Shore star Snooki earned thousands telling Rutgers students to “study hard, but party harder,” New Jersey has a law aimed at keeping such high-cost speakers off campus.
At least that’s what the new legislation, signed Monday by Gov. Chris Christie, seeks to do. Technically, the legislation caps the amount of taxpayer funding for a speaker at $10,000.
Unfortunately for New Jersey college students, campus speakers are often paid using student activity fees—so they’re on still on the hook when a university like Rutgers spends munificently to bring a reality TV star to campus.
Even as he signed the bill into law, Christie admitted that “this bill is essentially a symbolic statement on the rising costs of higher education and will have minimal impact on limiting the ability of the State’s public institutions of higher education to engage speakers at whatever rates they mutually agree to pay.”
At Rutgers, the speaker payment structure seems especially flawed. The university paid Snooki, once the most famous orange person in America, $32,000 to speak—more than it paid Nobel- and Pulitzer-prizewinning author Toni Morrison.
Student government, the ball’s in your court.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.