Martin Luther King Speakers Are Expensive, Georgia Southern University Paying Big BillBy Amanda Foster, UniversityHerald Reporter
Oftentimes, getting speakers to come to an event would mean a professional fee needs to be paid as well as accommodation expenses such as hotel cost, meals and transportation. The most recent speakers at the start of the year came to commemorate Martin Luther King.
And among the universities in the United States, Georgia Southern University reportedly paid the biggest bill. The institution reportedly spent thousands of dollars during the recent Martin Luther King Commemoration Speaker series.
The event was hosted by the Multicultural Student Center and has been occurring since 2010. And according to the Georgia Open Records Act request, the school has spent over $140,000, as reported by The George Anne.
The huge bill comes from eight out of the 12 Martin Luther King Commemoration Speakers, including Nikki Giovanni. Giovanni attended the MLK Commemoration and recited a few of her poems, as reported by Statesboro Herald. Giovanni was paid $15,800 for her appearance at the university and that already includes her accommodation and transportation expenses. The bill may be likened to celebrity requests wherein the guest of honor would have gift baskets in the room or personal requests such as the water at a certain temperature, and so on.
But this is a risk Georgia Southern University takes because they purposely pick high profile celebrity speakers. This move aims to impress the school donors as well as encourage potential students to enroll in their school, as well as enabling the undergraduates to inspire further learning.
In Georgia Southern so far, the highest bill they had to pay was for journalist Soledad O'Brien in 2013. They paid her $35,000 which did not include travel and accommodation expenses. The speakers are being funded through student fees. Although most students have no qualms over the use of the funds for these speakers, some have voiced out concerns over the use of the budget.
Here is a video of Nikki Giovanni delivering her Martin Luther King address in 2014: