Leave it to Rutgers University, the largest higher education institution in the Garden State, to take “Jersey Pride” about 32,000 steps too far.
That would be in the form of a check, for $32,000, written out to the booking agent of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the Chilean New Yorker who plays a North Jersey guidette on MTV’s “reality” show Jersey Shore. The 4 foot 9 inch tall star, who has inexplicably been on the cover of Rolling Stone and recently won a tag team match in Wrestlemania XXVII, sat down for a Q & A session in Piscataway, NJ last week.
According to the Newark Star-Ledger, her enduring words of wisdom that she passed along to the undergraduates were “Study hard, but party harder.”
A student leader of the Rutgers University Programming Association told the Ledger that the organization, which is funded by mandatory student activities fees, seeks to bring in speakers that would attract Rutgers students. He then un-ironically said that Ms. Polizzi “fit that mold very well.”
Another student leader from the programming board told the paper, “We’re trying to provide different kinds of experiences to students.” Because without a visit from Snooki, there’s no way Rutgers students would ever come across a short, over-tanned girl who likes to go down the Jersey shore and get drunk all summer long.
Meanwhile, Rutgers raised eyebrows late last month when the university announced it would pay Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison a comparatively paltry $30,000 to become the school’s first compensated commencement speaker.
And to think: a month ago, no one would have ever been comparing “Beloved” and “A Shore Thing.”
To complete the pricey speaker trifecta, Bergen Community College (BCC) had to backtrack on its invitation to Inside Edition host Deborah Norville once the board thought better of giving the broadcaster $25,000 to speak at the two-year degree institution’s commencement.
For the sake of comparison, here are some price tags for some other costs associated with these colleges:
$118.30 – Cost per credit at BCC for county residents
$12,560 – Tuition and fees for NJ residents to attend Rutgers
$23,466 — estimated total cost for a NJ resident student living on-campus at Rutgers
The money spent by these schools on these speakers, no matter what the source or what the reason, would have been better spent helping a financially-struggling student get through college. Instead, a few fleeting minutes with the self-proclaimed inventor of the “pouf” won out.
Heck, Rutgers would have better served New Jersey by letting Snooki attend classes for a year.
Joe Luppino-Esposito is a third year law student at Seton Hall. He is a contributor to the Student Free Press Association.