12 Responses to UO paid Ta-Nehisi Coates $11,500 more than OSU, got half the time

  1. Focused anger cuts says:

    Based on my many conversations with students about his books and talk it was worth every penny. His book and his talk delivered more educational value and intellectual spark than any randomly-selected set of 5 UO profs provide in a year at many multiples of that figure. A bargain.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Even if what you say were true — I have heard him on the radio and read his stuff in the Atlantic, not bowled over, to put it mildly — you might ask yourself how many of the students would ever have heard of him if not for the involvement of UO in promoting his book and bringing him here to speak.

      • Kitten says:

        Oh, come on, HUB. This is b’shit. Usually your posts are better. Maybe don’t post when you have nothing actually substantive to say. Coates is a big name, whether you agree with him or not. He did not need the UO to promote his book, and many were grateful the UO took the opportunity to arrange for his visit.

        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          My post was about the students, not Coates, who, whether he is way overrated or not, does not need help from UO.

          I stand by what I said. Without promotion from UO, few students would ever have heard of him.

      • Focused anger cuts says:

        HUB, you make this argument like it is a bad mark for the UO. Many would not have heard of him but for UO paying him and promoting his talk. That is a good point for the UO. That you aren’t impressed is of little significance and even less of a surprise.

        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          No, you didn’t understand that I was responding to your own very snarky comments about UO professors and the experience they provide to UO students.

          I may think that Coates is a pretentious faker, and you may think that the UO professors could bore the buzzards off the back of a shit wagon. (To borrow from a student evaluation reportedly given at Harvard.)

          We may both be right, but I still maintain that the UO provided the spark to many, many students to pay attention to the Coates stuff, who wouldn’t otherwise have had the slightest idea who he is.

          • Kitten says:

            HUB, only someone living under a rock for the past year would not already have heard of Coates. Anyone invested in issues of race in America would already have heard of Coates. At the present moment, bringing that to the attention of undergraduates, who–let’s wager–are not regular readers of the Atlantic, is part of the university’s educational enterprise. Even if all it does is spark a healthy discussion over whether there is merit to his views, it’s worthwhile. Having him here was very timely, both given Coates’ place is the national discourse right now and given the situation on campus regarding race. Of course, that drove up both the speaking fee he demanded and UO’s willingness to pay it.

            I’m faculty. I am not the least threatened by the fact that many students apparently found it a valuable learning experience. Minds turned on will be keen to learn more.

          • PBF says:

            There are a lot of things in college that fall under this category. In fact, one of the things I was going to miss the most about school was no longer having access to regular events that highlighted speakers with perspective I’ve never heard of before. Being exposed to concepts I had never heard of or considered seeking out is the entire point.

            Plus, if they can bring Milo, the can bring Coates.

  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Is this one of the advantages that comes with being the “flagship”?

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I was at Oregon and overseeing the Savage Chair with David Frank, the burgeoning size of speaker fees became a concern. For some perspective: we paid Eli Wiesel $15,000 in 1995 to keynote the Ethics After the Holocaust Conference. That was a lot of money then, but we felt it was crucial to the success of the event. Plus it went to his Foundation–some, but not all, human rights activists use these fees to support their causes, and I always felt better about large fees used for this purpose. Back then, some social activists kept their fees low on principle. The most we ever paid Howard Zinn, one of the biggest draws back then, was $1000 + airfare (economy class). Chomsky spoke for student groups for free. Otherwise I think he charged $5,000 for a major talk. FYI–Oxford University, where I am now, does not pay speaker fees, only expenses; this makes running programs here much easier. I don’t know if this is true throughout the UK–it may be because Oxford feels speaking at Oxford is reward enough.

  4. Obi Wan says:

    I went to the talk, and while it was good, it really felt like he stopped when he was just getting started. As an occasional event planner who has worked with various depts to bring in big speakers, I thought that the SOJC did not get their money’s worth due to the abbreviated time of the event. I just hope the students in the earlier session got a lot out of it.