The Student Organization for Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals requested nearly $25,000 from the Student Funding Board Thursday evening to pay for Ellen DeGeneres to speak at CSU. Current plans would have her performing approximately 30 minutes of her comedy act followed by a 45 minute “open mic” question and answer session. Event planners hope it will draw a crowd of 6,000 students and community members to Moby Arena, and they have already gained the support of several other campus groups and organizations to help cover costs.
We applaud the efforts by student groups to bring nationally and internationally recognized speakers to campus. Speakers as varied as Ruben “Hurricane” Carter and Dr. Drew of “Loveline” bring some prestige to the university.
However, we think such efforts could better serve the needs of students if they were planned further in advance and were allocated from a predefined fund set aside for speakers.
SOGLB has not yet received the go ahead from either the funding board or the Associated Students of CSU senate to invite Ellen on campus (see related story on the front). But the $24,500 they have requested represents a significant portion of the remaining money for ASCSU funded student activities. Thursday, the funding board allocated more than $6,000 to three separate groups bringing the total remaining in the senate general fund for the rest of the semester to about $32,000. If SOGLB’s funding request goes through, other student groups could potentially lose out on funding, regardless of whether money raised from ticket sales is reallocated to the general fund before or after the April 7 speech date.
Allocations as large as this one should be discussed a half a year or more in advance, rather than a couple of months before the scheduled event. Money for high profile speakers should be earmarked far in advance so as not to interfere with other student groups who may be asking for smaller amounts for smaller activities.
Is one speaker worth wiping out the remaining general fund for the semester?
We don’t know, but a decision like that should never have to be considered in the first place.