Spending $300,000 to pay Hillary Clinton to speak on campus last spring was a waste of money, according to the results of a recent UCLA Daily Bruin online poll.

The poll’s question noted that: “Hillary Clinton’s recent $300,000 paycheck for speaking at the Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership has captured the attention of news outlets around the country. What do these large fees for notable speakers say about UCLA and the Luskin lecture series?”

Her 90-minute March 5 appearance – the itinerary of which was a half-hour photo line followed by a 60-minute speech and moderated Q&A – amounts to roughly $3,300 per minute that the former Secretary of State and possible 2016 Democratic presidential contender earned for her time.

Of the 271 people who participated in the multiple-choice poll on the student newspaper’s website, the top pick – 48 percent or 131 voters – agreed that “large sums are inappropriate and demonstrate poor prioritizing on the part of the university and the Luskin lecture series.”

Another large chunk of respondents – 27 percent or 73 votes – called the large sums “unfortunate, but without them UCLA might not obtain the same level of notable speakers for the lecture.”

A smaller margin – 21 percent or 58 votes – agreed it was worth the money, calling it an “inspiring and rare opportunity.” The final nine voters were undecided.

The Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership was launched in 2011 and is funded through the aid of wealthy businessman and UCLA donor Meyer Luskin, who is also a supporter of President Barack Obama, giving money to his campaigns in the past, according to online Federal Election Commission records.

UCLA’s Luskin lecture has paid for exactly three speeches to date: one from former President Bill Clinton in 2012, which cost $250,000; another by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2013, which the Daily Bruin reports earned the diplomat $180,000; and most recently by Hillary Clinton in March, who was given $300,000 for her time.

“Hillary Clinton has inspired a lot of students, but when you talk about funding, $300,000 could have gone somewhere else to create concrete changes,” Conrad Contreras, the Undergraduate Students Association Council external vice president, told the Daily Bruin in a July 7 article. “It’s difficult to see that UCLA is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone who is already wealthy when I have friends and families working countless hours to stay in higher education.”

In that same article, the Daily Bruin noted that Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright have given speeches at UCLA in the past and charged no fee when they came to speak through the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations.

After the Bruin’s article was published, Joseph Rudnick, senior dean of UCLA College of Letters and Science, defended the Luskin series in a letter to the editor, saying “thanks to their gift, the UCLA College has built a signature lecture on campus without the need to use public funds. To date, three world leaders have come to campus to share their thoughts on the important issues shaping our world, and each time, students have attended these lectures free of charge.”

Except there was a near riot when those free tickets to Hillary Clinton’s appearance were doled out to students, the Bruin reported at the time. In fact, many students were shut out of the event due to a lack of space, prompting officials to agree to live-stream it to the overflow crowd.

The venue choice had even prompted students to petition to have the speech relocated.

“Live-streams are just like (glorified) videos, which we can watch on YouTube anytime,” one student who launched the petition told the Bruin. “The experience of witnessing someone speak in person is something that I can’t even put into words, and that is what I’m advocating for. … Students have the most to gain and usually most interest in such lectures, but it looks almost like a campaign event for Hillary where the only people who can afford to attend are those already donating to the campaign.”

The speech was a campus fundraiser that raised money for UCLA scholarships through the sale of tickets, which cost $100 to $500 dollars apiece. The Clintons have said that they transferred their campus speaking fees to their family’s nonprofit.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( @JenniferKabbany )

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IMAGE: U.S. Department of State


The University of California Los Angeles has had its cover blown wide open.

According to UCLA Professor Tim Groseclose in his new book, “Cheating: An Insider’s Report on the Use of Race in Admissions at UCLA,” the public university has conducted under the table affirmative action programs – despite the practice being illegal in California.

The public university did so in an effort to admit black students at a much higher rate than they would have been if the school had followed the letter of the law, his research found. Campus officials’ decisions had a detrimental effect on the acceptance rates of white and Asian students, according to the data he unearthed.

“I happened to be on the faculty oversight committee at UCLA and it was clear there was cheating going on,” Groseclose said in an interview with The College Fix. “I never would have written anything at all about admissions in college if I hadn’t been on this committee.”

The book details how UCLA admissions personnel used a “holistic” approach to their decisions. Groseclose said he believes that the holistic approach facilitated the ability of the admissions staff to grant under-the-table racial preferences.

UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told Fox News that the school “will not address specific assertions made by Prof. Groseclose,” but said “UCLA believes its admissions process to be fair, transparent and consistent with state law.”

When the state’s voters in 1996 passed Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, it was the first successful ballot initiative to forbid the use of race, sex, and ethnicity in public employment decisions, including admission to state universities.

Several states have followed California’s lead, most notably Michigan, which banned the practice by a ballot initiative in 2006.

Groseclose said he believes that the affirmative action activity continued illegally at the urging and coercion of the state legislature and alumni groups.

“When UCLA had a drop in African-American admissions, there was a crisis on campus – there were protests at the chancellor’s office,” Groseclose said. “And the chancellor showed up at my committee – and this was remarkable, I never heard of this before – and he lobbied us to change the admissions system.”

“He said there were several constituencies of UCLA distressed at the low number of African-Americans,” Groseclose added. “He said at least two of those constituencies were black alumni groups and the other was the legislature in Sacramento. He certainly implied that our funding was going to be cut if we didn’t increase diversity.”

The legislature was urging and even strongarming the university into breaking the law.

Despite these obvious signs of illegal activity, Groseclose claimed he could never access admissions data for himself, even after requesting it.

“When I asked for a thousand random admissions files, which I thought was a legitimate duty and undertaking of my committee, UCLA refused,” he said.

The reluctance to release the files sounded alarms, Groseclose said, and it raised his suspicions that the university was engaging in clearly illegal activity. He received the data only after filing a Public Records Act in California.

Groseclose published these findings and more in April. He is also the author of “Left Turn: How Liberal Bias Distorts The American Mind.”

An amendment to the California constitution was proposed in 2012 which would have allowed for the consideration of race, color, ethnicity, and national origin in admissions decisions for public universities. It passed the state Senate but was ultimately withdrawn from consideration after public opposition to the bill made its future politically unviable.

As The College Fix reported last winter, at UCLA “white students are actually severely ‘underrepresented’ compared to black students: the white percentage at UCLA is only 37.7 percent of the total percentage of white residents in the state, whereas the black percentage at UCLA is 57.6 percent of the total statewide percentage of black residents – a 20 point difference.”

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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It’s come to light this week that possible 2016 presidential contender and self-described “dead broke” Hillary Clinton has likely raked in almost $2 million in speaking fees for appearances at public and private universities across the nation in the last year.

“At least eight universities, including four public institutions, have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary Rodham Clinton to speak on their campuses over the past year, sparking a backlash from some student groups and teachers at a time of austerity in higher education,” The Washington Post reports.

The University of Connecticut paid $251,250 for an April visit, UCLA paid $300,000 for an appearance in March, and UNLV ponied up $225,000 for a speech scheduled for October, the Post reported. Five other campuses she visited refused to tell the Post what they paid her: University at Buffalo, Colgate University and Hamilton College in New York, as well as Simmons College in Boston and the University of Miami in Florida.

“But if she earned her standard fee of $200,000 or more, that would mean she took in at least $1.8 million in speaking income from universities in the past nine months,” the Post reported.

While many or most of these speeches were paid through foundation grants, donor funds, and other coffers not directly tied to campuses’ general budgets – the outrage and calls of hypocrisy have already mounted.

Even as Clinton stumps for better access to higher education and bemoans the plight of penniless college students, she collected some of these staggering fees at schools that have raised tuition on students recently.

UNLV has recently upped tuition by seventeen percent, while UConn has raised it by six and a half percent, The Washington Post reported, adding the high price tags for Clinton’s speeches have angered many students who face ever-increasing tuition hikes:

“The students are outraged about this,” said Elias Benjelloun, UNLV’s student body president. “When you see reckless spending, it just belittles the sacrifices students are consistently asked to make. I’m not an accountant or economist, so I can’t put a price tag on how much we should be paying her, but I think she should come for free.”

UNLV student leaders have called on Clinton to return her “outrageous” speaking fee, but Clinton’s spokesman and many of the colleges have been mum when asked about the former New York senator’s honorariums.

But the former First Lady was mocked after she defended her speech rates in a recent interview. She stated that she and husband Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House in January of 2001.

Many college students may also wonder how she will reconcile her fees with statements like “I worry that we’re closing the doors to higher education in our own country,” and “This great model that we’ve had that’s meant so much to so many is becoming further and further away from too many.”

Responding to the criticism, Clinton made an announcement Friday that she donated her fees to the personal family foundation. (But if this NY Times piece from last year is any indication, the complaints are unlikely to cease.)

Professor Harry R. Lewis of Harvard told the Washington Post:

… speaking fees at Clinton’s level amount to “an extravagant form of advertising” for colleges that should focus instead on more scholastic initiatives.

“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,” Lewis said. “At the same time you’re putting your students into serious debt, as most institutions do; it’s an allocation of resources that’s very suspect.”

But it’s unclear whether the mainstream media will keep on Clinton about this topic, just as they did with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 — especially since Romney’s fees didn’t come close to Clinton’s.

Romney faced extreme hassle by the media during the 2012 campaign about his speaking fees. But his disclosure forms show a total of “$374,000 for nine speeches.” That works out to approximately $41,592 per speech.

If Mrs. Clinton wants to be the Democratic presidential front-runner in 2016, she may have a difficult time defending her campus payments, as well as from these “enemies of the 99 percent.”

After all, there’s no end in sight, as in the same interview where she said she was “dead broke,” she also stated giving speeches “was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company as so many people who leave public life do.”

Editor’s note: This post was modified to reflect Clinton’s announcement that she donated the speaking fees to her personal foundation.

Dave Huber is an assistant editor of  The College Fix.

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Celina Durgin at The Corner reports on the fees charged by Hillary Clinton at assorted colleges across the land: “$1.8 million in fees for speeches to eight universities during the past nine months, receiving over $200,000 for each.” Aside from the recent controversy surrounding her gig at UNLV,

Clinton also earned a $250,000 fee in April from the University of Connecticut, where tuition recently rose 6.5 percent, and $300,000 in March from UCLA. She has been paid for speeches at the University at Buffalo, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Simmons College, and the University of Miami. Claremont McKenna College paid Romney a mere $11,475 to speak there.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, remember the hassle the media gave him during the 2012 campaign about his speaking fees? Well, his disclosure forms show a total of “$374,000 for nine speeches.” That works out to approximately $41,592 per speech.

How’s that compare to Mrs. Clinton, eh?

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Accomplished actress, uber-liberal activist and former American traitor Jane Fonda has been tapped to be the graduation speaker at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television’s upcoming commencement ceremony, to the dismay of some – including veterans.

Fonda famously traveled to Hanoi in 1972, where she called the American military “war criminals” and was photographed atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. More recently, she offered a half-hearted apology for some of her choices in North Vietnam four decades ago.Jane

Just last year, Fonda told veterans and other critics threatening to boycott her movie The Butler to “get a life.”

“Jane Fonda committed treason during the Vietnam War and got away with it,” Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said. “I have a problem with this. … To be invited to speak at a commencement address is an honor, it’s a privilege. … Who pays for UCLA? People of California, taxpayers, a lot of vets, a lot of Vietnam vets. They are insulted, many of them are. … This woman is so dubious, her past is so controversial.”

On the “Vets Boycotting Hanoi Jane Fonda” Facebook page, a post announcing her selection expressed outrage and disgust.

“Please tell me this is a joke,” administrators of the page posted May 30. “We have to make a stand.”

The post had nearly 400 Likes by Sunday night, prompting comments such as “it just illustrates who’s running our universities and teaching our children, and worse, what they are being taught/ indoctrinated!”

Said another: “It’s UCLA’s response the the VA problems! They’re saying in effect “Screw you Vietnam Vets!”

But UCLA officials fawned over Fonda in announcing the news.

“We are truly honored to have Jane Fonda speak at this year’s commencement ceremony,” said Teri Schwartz, dean of UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. “Jane is a visionary and a remarkable artist who has spent her life telling deeply powerful stories that have moved and inspired audiences worldwide to action for the greater good and to a greater understanding of our common humanity through her films, philanthropic efforts and personal journeys.”

“She has effortlessly placed herself at the heart of what TFT stands for — the education and development of outstanding new artists and scholars whose stories, performances and research enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.”

The commencement is slated for Friday, June 13.

Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix. ( @JenniferKabbany

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