The bill in Student Congress to put a $500 cap on UNC employees’ speaking fees for on-campus events is a good idea, but it doesn’t go far enough. The cap should be $0.
UNC pays its professors and administrators well: Every professor makes more than enough to get by, with many making well over six figures. With such salaries, $500 for an event won’t make or break a deal.
Why, then, should student fees be available at all?
Students need help where they can get it, and this is one way to help them without hurting anyone else if the money saved is returned to students through reduced fees next year.
Besides, professors are already paid to teach here and presumably love the academic atmosphere on campus. They should be excited to share their insight with students.
Students already support salaries through tuition, and shouldn’t pay professors twice to teach.
If there is a case where one UNC employee and one non-UNC employee are giving a joint talk and the non-UNC professor is paid, the group can always raise the money to pay the UNC employee.
That exact scenario, when religious studies professor Bart Ehrman was paid $3,000 to speak at a UNC Cornerstone event earlier this semester, is what prompted this bill.
To his credit, Ehrman returned the money when he learned it came from student fees and told The Daily Tar Heel he was surprised such a payment was allowed to exist.
We are just as surprised and hope the bill — which will be voted on in a few weeks — will be amended to a $0 cap.
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