University of Colorado students paid $160,000 in April to hear former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan say the people of the world must work together to bring about peace.Noam Chomsky was next at $200 and a coupon for Starbucks.
The amount came as a surprise Wednesday to several members of CU's board of regents, who saw the figure on a routine list of speakers and their fees for the school year that just ended.
Annan was far ahead of the second-highest-paid speaker, liberal historian and activist Howard Zinn, who received $15,500.
The amount for the one-hour speech brought calls from some regents for more frequent audits of student government, which has a $33.8 million annual budget and oversees most campus speaking engagements. It hasn't had a full review in four years, though the student health center has been monitored, campus auditor Jean Stewart told the board.
"It's a large budget, and you have young, inexperienced people (in student government)," Regent Tom Lucero said following the Wednesday meeting. He raised the question of Annan's fee. . . .
Annan was brought to campus by the Distinguished Speakers Board and Cultural Events Board. Both are student panels, with 7-9 students on each board.
Of the $160,000, Annan received $100,000. The rest was for transportation, lodging, food and two security men, according to Jon Tsuda , director of the Student Organizations Finance Office.
Annan told some 4,000 people at Coors Events Center that all of humankind is linked together in the quest for world security.
"We should be responsible to protect each other from the crimes against humanity," he said, according to a report in the Boulder Daily Camera.
Cheap at twice the price!
Ron Stump, vice chancellor for student affairs, said administrators were "shocked" by the amount of Annan's fee. But, he said, that's the going rate for people of Annan's prominence.
"We're not the only people paying top dollar," Stump said. . . .
Wonder how she'll vote on firing Ward Churchill?
Regent Cindy Carlisle said speakers like Annan help make CU a world-class institution.
"The students are always very excited about these things happening," Carlisle said.
Update: the Rocky's Vince Carroll:
If the University of Colorado student government has so much money that that it can squander a speaker’s fee of that size on the vapid musings of the former United Nations secretary-general, as it did in April, maybe that’s a sign that it is grossly overfunded.
Have you ever tried to keep your eyelids at attention during a sonorous lecture by Annan on international affairs? Only someone addicted to hearing the word “multilateral” repeated like a mantra could walk away feeling enlightened or energized.