The number of paid speakers in this year’s University Lecture Series (ULS) lineup has almost doubled since its initialannouncement in August.
ULS first announced fourspeakers in its annual lineup after facing almost $40,000 in budgetcuts from the student-paid Activities and Service (A&S) fund.
But now, ULS has brought in three more speakers, as well as sponsoring others in addition to its initial lineup at no added cost, Center for Student Involvement Director Kristie Gerber said.
“There was nothing added to the ULS budget this year,” she said. “There was no additionalfunding given for additionallecturers.”
When Common, Lara Logan, Marc Lamont Hill and the cast of MTV’s “The Buried Life” were announced in August, ULS was under contractual obligations to withhold the name of anotherspeaker who had already been accounted for in its$215,180 budget – musicianMatisyahu.
The costs for all five, though varying, had been set. Gerber said this year’s ULS budget was$38,000 less than last year’s.
Common, a Grammy-winning hip-hop artist who attracteda crowd of approximately1,200, cost $24,000, or about$20 per person. Lamont Hill, a commentator and the host of “Our World With Black Enterprise” who drew a crowd of about150, and cost $7,800, or about$52 per person.
In comparison, last year’s first speaker, “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Jill Zarin, cost $15,000 and drew a crowd of about 100 people.
The “The Buried Life” cast is scheduled to appear Feb. 21 and cost $18,500, while Logan, a CBS News reporter who was initially scheduled for Nov. 17 before rescheduling for April 3,cost $40,900. The hushed March 1Matisyahu appearance cost $28,500.
In addition to the speaker costs, Gerber said each event accrued costs for the speaker’s travel, Marshall Student Centerfacilities and food. ULS also hostedgenocide prevention group Invisible Children and sponsored Spinoza scholar Steven Nadler at no cost.
An additional $40,000 was set aside for a “distinguishedspeaker residency” programdesigned to bring about10 prominent local figures to stay on campus for two days andconverse with students inclassrooms and residence halls.
Yet after time constraints proved bringing the “distinguishedspeakers” unfeasible, Gerber said ULS decided to scrap the series.
“(The ULS board) was not able to get all the support they neededthis year for the series,” she said. “(As a board) we decided to remove the Distinguished Guest Series because of time constraints in the planning process.”
The $40,000 earmarked for the project went back in to the lecture series budget and two more speakers were added – Dewey Bozella and Chaz Bono, for$8,500 and $22,500, respectively.
Bozella, a man wronglyincarcerated for more than30 years before becoming a boxer, and Bono, Cher and Sonny Bono’s celebrity child who was thrust into the public eye while transitioning from female to male, were selectedbecause of their relevance tostudents, Gerber said.
“We looked at messages instead of a name,” she said.
Gerber said she is not sure how the remaining $9,000 will be spent, but it may factor into food and travel expenses for Bono, who will speak in April, as well assetting up his event.
ULS Director of Marketing Spencer Southard said the additionof Bono to the list this month was because of the series’ “great value on diversity.”
“The students were looking for a topic that had not been covered in our recent history, and we have not had a speaker talking abouttransgendered issues,” he said. “We also felt it was a timely choice, as there had been recent press about USF’s housingpolicies changing to allow students to select gender-neutral housing.”
Southard said the board expects many students to attend Bono’s lecture.