The Daily Gamecock

USC group spends $15k for Jenny Sanford speech

USC’s Carolina Productions paid over $15,000 in student fees to bring Jenny Sanford on campus for a lecture and meet-and-greet Wednesday night. “It’s high, but it has been done before,” said Lee McKagen, an event coordinator with CP. “Spending this much money is something we regard very highly and discuss before. We don’t decide to do something like this in a day.”

With the recent turmoil in her life, Jenny Sanford provides a powerful message of self-inspiration and getting through difficult times in a positive manner, McKagen said. It’s a “big shebang” this semester for the organization, he said.

“We think about it, and say ‘would students be willing to pay this much?’” McKagen said.

The organization uses allotted fees each semester to bring concerts, speakers, movies, comedians, cultural awareness events and other programs to campus. An overall budget for the organization wasn’t available Wednesday evening, and organization leaders said they weren’t exactly sure what
they’re allotted each semester.

CP tries to provide programming that appeals to a wide variety of students and fosters positive discussion and interaction, said Alexandra Rippy, the organization’s president.

Higher fees have been paid by other Universities. A 40-minute speech by former Alaska governor and Fox News analyst Sarah Palin at a Cal State Stanislaus fundraising board dinner cost the University $75,000. Tickets to the dinner were $500 each and raised $200,000.

“$15,000 is a drop in the bucket when you’re looking at the entire University’s $1 billion budget,”  Student Body President Ebbie Yazdani said.

Recent budget cuts from the state Legislature have led to layoffs, increased tuition, departmental cuts and a hiring freeze for many colleges at USC.

“I think it’s absurd,” said USC’s College Republicans Chairman Chelsie Paulson. of the event. “It’s wasting money and frivolous spending.” .