Bristol Palin Gets Dumped by Washington University After Students Protest the School Spending $20K on Her Pro-Abstinence Speech
Bristol Palin has landed herself in the news again, this time for the "furor" that was stirred up among Washington University students when the school agreed to spend an outlandish $20,000 for Palin to give a pro-abstinence speech at the university. The appearance, which was to occur next month as part of Wash U's Student Sexual Responsibility Week, has now been called off, with school officials saying "that the message that they intended on sharing would be overshadowed by controversy."
A Facebook petition launched by Wash U's College Democrats group to protest Palin's exorbitant speaker's fee and "lack of expertise" (indeed, her track record with abstinence isn't so great) garnered at least 800 participants. The university claims the decision to cancel Palin's appearance was "100% mutual," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Slate's Dave Weigel confirms that Wash U students are right to be pissed off about Palin's speaker's fee:
This stuff happens all the time on campuses. I spent one mildly happy year on my college's student government, and the scandal of the time was a massive fee that the arts council wanted to pay a guest at an annual concert. It was the pre-Facebook era (2001), so petitions were signed on paper and delivered to a student council that struck some of the funding. Bristol Palin wasn't involved (true, she was 11 at the time), so there was no great media attention. But the dispute would never have gone large if it wasn't for the fee. That was Palin's problem; $20,000 is a fairly ridiculous amount to ask for an appearance on a panel.