WIU says it relies on president, not paid speakers
Western Illinois University (WIU) has proclaimed its innocence before it can be accused of being guilty of following the example set by Northeastern Illinois University regarding commencement speaker pay.
The WIU director of University Relations, responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, said the school does not pay its commencement speakers. The statement comes in response to a recent Chicago Sun Times article that revealed that EIU paid relatively large sums to speakers
According to the Sun Times, a Macomb campus spokesperson said that NEIU’s president delivers the annual address.
The issue came to light after it was discovered that NEIU, despite having to cut three days from its schedule and forcing staff to take a one-week unpaid break in the spring, was planning to pay Valerie Jarrett, a former Obama Administration aide, $30,000 for this year’s speech.
In light of the controversy, Jarrett, who had already been paid much of the fee, returned all but $1,500, which will go toward travel expenses.
Jarrett’s fee is hardly the only one that the school has paid in the past four years, according to reports. NEIU paid Donna Brazile $15,000 in 2013, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto $10,750 in 2014, Rita Moreno $10,000 in 2015 and Evan Wolfson $10,100 in 2016.