WASHINGTON, June 2, 2015 — Arizona State University has made the the Vox.com list of “181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied Hillary’s State Department.” ASU donated $500,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative University for the “privilege” of having the Clinton family appear, under the CGI U banner, at the seventh annual CGI U meeting held at ASU in Tempe, Ariz.
The Arizona Republic reports that the university has lobbied the State Department for funding under the Title VIII, Russian and East European Research and Training Act of 1983. University officials claim the lobbying occurred after Hillary stepped down from State.
At ASU, the average cost of a year’s tuition is just under $11,000. For that $500,000 some 45 in-state students could have received a year of undergraduate education; 12 (and a half) students could have received a full four years.
Or 25 students could have received half-scholarships to help them complete a degree program.
The Clinton Global Initiative University website boasts that more than 1,100 students attended the event to raise $60,000 and participate in a “Day of Action” in the community.
“Student attendees had the opportunity to attend plenary sessions, working sessions, and other special events covering topics across CGI U’s five focus areas and allowing them to network with their peers, build skills, and identify potential partnerships,” the website for the event states. “Youth organizations, topic experts, and celebrities joined students at the CGI U meeting to help them gain the skills and knowledge needed to take action on their commitments.”
However, out of the 82,000 ASU students who will all be paying surcharges and higher tuition to cover events like CGI U, less than 1 percent were able to attend the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University.
It gives a new meaning to that term of liberal scorn, “the privileged 1 percent.”
ASU tuition has almost doubled since 2005. The state school has been cash-strapped, as Arizona has cut the higher education budget by 50.4 percent since 2008, the sharpest cuts of any state in the country. ASU will lose $40 million more in state funding in the 2016 budget. It has fired faculty and staff and cut programs and course offerings in everything from Hindi to art to computer science to semiconductor technology.
Yet while lobbying the state of Arizona for more money, ASU had the funds to give those 12 (and one-half) students’ education to the Clinton Foundation.
All of this is salt in the wounds of young people attempting to avail themselves of an ever more expensive state college education.
Arizona’s Board of Regents has voted to approve new tuition increases for both undergraduate and graduate students at ASU, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University. At the same time, the Arizona State Press reports that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, has approved a 2016 budget that will cut more than $100 million from public universities.
“In this regard ASU seems to hold themselves accountable to their own pet projects, as opposed to ASU students,” Richard Moorehead, a senior history major at ASU, told Campus Reform. “The money they wasted on the Clinton Foundation event could have been used for scholarships and genuine education.
“I realize bringing high-profile speakers can raise the profile of the university, but no speaker’s time is worth $500,000, especially if that money is funneled into a presidential campaign,” Moorehead said. He did not attend the CGI U event.
Ryan Hartwig, a recent ASU graduate, told Campus Reform that the $500,000 was “way too much for any celebrity or politician. It really makes me question what ASU does with their money, while they continue to complain about state budget cuts.”
Spokesperson Mark Johnson says the school was justified in paying for the privilege of hosting the Clinton’s due to the fact that no state funds were used.
Johnson ignores the fact that once money goes into the university pot, there’s no way to tell where it came from when it’s taken out. The private money that paid for the CGI U event could have been used to pay for academic programs. It was not. The cost per student to attend the event was about $455, which is significantly more than the $320 tuition surcharge that the school will start charging students next year.
$500,000 would cover the surcharge for 1,562 students.
The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts is breaking this story open with plenty of outrage over the exorbitant fees paid to bring former president Bill Clinton; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and their daughter, Chelsea, to the 2014 event.