Friday, December 12, 2014

Spartans Play Defense

What is Michigan State University hiding?
George Will
While University President Lou Anna Simon defends the decision to hire George Will as winter semester commencement speaker, the University is doing all it can to hide (for now) how much Will is being paid.
The selection is under fire from students, alumni (including Sen. Debbie Stabenow) and women's rights advocates due to Will's antediluvian views expressed in a Washington Post column in which he comments on "the supposed campus epidemic of rape."
The Curmudgeon has no problem with MSU having a speaker who spouts nonsense – that's a healthy part of the diversity of ideas the University should champion.
But The Curmudgeon is among those who don't think the University should pay Will the equivalent of two-year's tuition for the privilege of spouting his nonsense, even if he does so with big words, flowery prose and a professorial bow tie. Will's minimum speaking fee, according to his agency, the Washington Speakers Bureau, is at least $40,001. (But that's a bargain: the fee includes travel expenses.)
Not George Will
So how much is MSU is paying Will? Enquiring minds want to know.
Which is why the progressive media watchdog Media Matters filed a FOIA for the contract. MSU, which had five days to respond, responded on the sixth day that it needed more time to comply. That extension, if fully utilized, means the University will not divulge Will's speaking fee until after he has safely left East Lansing this Saturday.
Standing up for a diversity of ideas is one thing. Stonewalling the public is another. It is a sorry day for the Green and White.

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