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Students shouldn’t have to pay for Snooki, Rutgersfest if they don’t want to, NJ lawmaker says

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : A state lawmaker says a heavily-bankrolled Snooki appearance at Rutgers University, along with two shootings and 11 disorderly conduct arrests at annual semester-ending “Rutgerfest,” makes it necessary to give students the option of not paying for guest-speaker engagements or other events they find objectionable.

Friday night fights in New Brunswick; $30K for Snooki show

There are those who would say college, by its very nature, should be a free marketplace of ideas and a hub that fosters “collegial” relationships.

But State Sen. Joe Kyrillos said the melee at “Rutgerfest,” as well as the controversial paid appearance by the “Jersey Shore” cast member, created “the need for legislation to increase transparency and choice for students in student fees assessed by public universities.”

“This is about Snooki and more,” Kyrillos said of his proposed opt-out measure. “It is about ensuring that those paying tuition have appropriate knowledge of how their dollars are being used and are given input into a fund that is supposed to be for their collective benefit.”

Snooki (Nicole Polizzi) was paid $30,000 for a question-and-answer session, lessons in the “Jersey Shore” fist pump and styling a student’s hair to look like hers. She also gave a shout out to her father, who was in the audience wearing a sleeveless “Papa Snooki” t-shirt, then instructed the howling students to “study hard, but party harder.”

Suffice to say, not all students were pleased.

Kyrillos, in turn, said Rutgers officials are helping him draft a bill that would require disclosure of how student fees are spent and to allow students to opt out of paying the portion of fees that fund entertainment or other events they could find objectionable.

Meanwhile, others are questioning why the school invited 40,000 people — many of them who aren’t students there — to the bash’s 30th anniversary, which featured a hip-hop concert, last Friday. They also insist on a new policy for the annual end-of-the-year event permitting only Rutgers students to attend.

Kyrillos is concentrating on letting the students’ wallets do the talking.

“Rutgers students look forward to cutting loose at Rutgersfest each year. I doubt any of them are pleased that this event has been put in jeopardy by out-of-towners and non-students who clearly were looking for trouble,” he said. “Requiring disclosure and student control over whether and how entertainment dues are paid will serve as a check on those holding the purse strings to these funds.”

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