If you take MTV Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and place her alongside Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison, you can immediately tell (as Sesame Street would say) that one of these things is not like the other. Despite their obvious contrast, both individuals were asked to speak at engagements held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Snooki appeared at the school this week as a key note speaker and earned $32,000 for the appearance, while Morrison, is expected to speak at this year’s graduation for a price of $30,000. Does something about those numbers seem strange to you?
Friday media outlets from all over caught wind of Rutger’s pay discrepancy and called them out on their odd scale. But despite the criticism, the school stands by its decision to pay Snooki more than Morrison. According to their rep Steve Manas, “The students canvassed for who they wanted here and had the funds available.” Over 1,000 people came out to see the reality star dish out some wise words, which included this jewel, “Study hard, but party harder.”
The university also claimed that Snooki’s fee was reasonable considering other entertainers such as Kevin Hart and Parks & Recreation star Aziz Ansari asked for $75,000 each for their appearances. Even though it seemed like Snooki’s presence was wanted and welcomed on campus, one student described the event as “ridiculous.”
It’s understandable that the school wants to provide entertainment via celebrities but couldn’t they have chosen someone with a real talent? Snooki is known for over-tanning, a ridiculous hairstyle, and eating pickles. At least Hart and Ansari are legitimate comics who could have given the students a good laugh.
It’s no secret that reality TV stars don’t usually last long in the entertainment business. In five years, will any of those students use the “advice” that Snooki dished out when they’re maneuvering through the corporate world? What about when they have kids and families to support? When did distinguished schools start seeing more value in MTV than education?
In the long run it makes no sense for someone as talented and profound as Toni Morrison to be paid anywhere near and definitely not less than Snooki. It’s an insult to her and it’s an insult to all the other great people who have actually contributed something to society that’s lasted more than a hot minute. What do you think of Rutgers paying Snooki more than Morrison?