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Paying For Commencement Speakers Should Be Banned New Jersey Bill Proposes

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TONI MORRISON
AP
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New Jersey lawmakers proposed a bill last week that would bar the payment for commencement speakers at public colleges or universities.

The bill comes in the wake of controversy over the fact that Kean University paid John Legend $25,000 to serenade them at their commencement on May 12, and Rutgers University awarded Toni Morrison $30,000 for her speech at Rutgers graduation on May 15.

The bill proposes that if a state funded college or university pays for their commencement speakers, the amount they pay will be deducted from the school’s government aid.

"We’re in very, very difficult times," John DiMaio (R-Warren), a sponsor of the bill, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. "Tuitions are up. The amount of aid we have to offer is down."

Rutgers officials are said to be reviewing the proposal with lawyers.

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