Rutgers pays rapper more than Hillary Clinton or Obama
NEW BRUNSWICK — Move over Snookie. The Rutgers University Programming Association paid rapper Aminé big bucks to perform on campus last week.
The Daily Targum reported that it obtained a copy of the $65,000 contract for the hip-hop artist to perform at the Beats on the Bank concert in the College Avenue Auditorium. The university paid for "basic production needs" and "basic hospitality" while he took care of his own transportation and hotel accommodations.
Aminé is a performer from Portland, Oregon, whose hit "Caroline" hit #11 on the Billboard Top 100 in 2016.
RUPA is a campus organization that plans 100 events a year, "appealing to the diverse student body on all five campuses."
On its website, the group said they receive $815,000 from the state's largest public university, most of which comes from revenue generated for room reservations, equipment rentals and royalties from food vendors in the student centers. A group of 30–40 undergraduate students, seven directors and five advisors run the organization.
Rutgers spokesman John Cramer said that RUPA's advisors "ensure that students are learning skills such as budgeting, marketing, logistics, current trends in event planning, and production."
RUPA is run autonomously and there is no outside oversight of how much a guest or performer is paid. Contracts are negotiated and executed by professional staff members, according to Cramer.
Rutgers came under criticism for paying Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi $32,000 for an appearance in 2011. It led to legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2017 that put a $10,000 cap on the amount of state money that can be spent on speakers. Christie admitted the law was essentially symbolic because institutions largely use student activity fees to pay speakers.
Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was paid $25,000 for an appearance in 2017 and President Barack Obama declined a $35,000 honorarium for his speech to graduates.