Student-funded lectures should be publicized

Last Tuesday, a $10,000 lecture was held in McConomy Auditorium.

Mark Sterner gave a lecture titled “DUI: A Powerful Lesson,” about a 1994 incident in which he killed three of his best friends while driving drunk. Sterner received a three-year jail sentence and 12 years of probation. Since getting out of jail, he has traveled to universities nationwide recounting his story. Sterner gave part of his lecture in his orange jail clothes and showed a video of his friends having fun that night, followed by images of the crash scene.

Sterner called his $10,000 fee to the school one of necessity — the costs were used for traveling and living expenses. Emotional counselors were even on scene to assist students who needed to discuss the lecture afterwards, which only added to already obscene costs. According to Sterner, no profits are made from any of his lectures.

The majority of the 400 students present were Greek, but the lecture required the financial assistance of non-Greek student organizations. With contributions from fraternities and sororities still not covering the cost, the sponsoring fraternity, Pi Delta Psi, who initiated the lecture after a recent drunk driving tragedy involving brothers, had to look even further. The fraternity got support from Student Senate, Student Affairs, and Student Life, among others, all of whom use portions of our student activities fee.

Each semester, students pay an $86 activities fee for activities that meet the “reasonably predictable needs of college students.”

However, non-Greek students were not well-informed about this lecture.

The big issue here is one of numbers. The lecture cost $10,000, and only 400 students, the majority of which were Greek, were in attendance. Furthermore, all university students pay a fee each semester which entitles them to full publicity of such events.

This event had two Facebook groups, both initiated by Greeks, and whose invitees couldn’t encompass the campus community. There were also few posters seen in heavy-traffic areas on campus.

If the whole university had known about this lecture as they should’ve, they might’ve attended and been eager to see what their $10,000 was going toward.