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NJ Lawmakers Might Limit College Speaker Fees

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly could give final legislative approval tomorrow to a measure banning the state's public colleges from paying more than $10,000 to commencement and other speakers.

In recent years reality TV star Snookie, novelist Toni Morrison, and producer Spike Lee were among those paid more than that for speaking at New Jersey colleges.

Assemblyman John DiMaio questions whether that's the best use of college funds.

"The cost of an education is very expensive now. Many young people are carrying huge debts as they leave school. Perhaps this will be a message to all of the administrations to take a good hard look as to how they're spending dollars."

Senator Sandra Cunningham says colleges are spending a lot of money on speakers at a time when many students are struggling to pay their tuition.

“It just seems to me that’s something that we could help our students out with by putting a less amount of money into speakers.”

Peter Guzzo with the Higher Education Leadership Council says college faculty unions support the legislation.

“The council feels that it’s really the responsibility of the university professors to raise appropriate funds for non-academic activities.”