The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Commencement is the culmination of four years of hard work. And yet, the University refuses to consider paying even a modest sum for a speaker above and beyond travel expenses.

Let’s remember how UNC treated the artist Fabolous, to whom the Carolina Union Activities Board paid almost $50,000 to play a half-sold Memorial Hall and receive special furniture and food.

Comparing the way we approach Commencement versus Homecoming guests reveals a damning discrepancy.

Some rightly argue that UNC still gets big-name speakers without offering money.

But it is not about just getting any speaker or about getting a famous speaker. It is about getting the best speaker — one who is compelling and inspirational.

Those opposed to honoraria often portray paying a speaker as simply writing a blank check. But there is a middle way — one with reasonable spending guidelines and limits.

And it is not inconceivable that the best person will want to be paid for writing and delivering such an important speech. Nor is it unfair for them to request payment. We are asking for their time, their effort and their words.

Sure, UNC might be able to get another good speaker. But is refusing reasonable remuneration worth sacrificing the best option?

Spending freedom would allow UNC to make the best choice possible. And we want the best for our graduates.

We shouldn’t allow frugality to prevent us from providing a speaker who is truly fabulous.

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