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Texas A&M University spent $40,000 to bring actor Danny Glover to campus for a Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast speech, an investigation by a student group, the Texas Aggie Conservatives (TAC) revealed.
Glover's speech drew national outrage after a video taken by TAC activists exposed his claim that the Constitution's Second Amendment was created to preserve slavery.
Internal emails which reveal the cost of the event were acquired by the TAC through the Texas Public Information Act.
The documents and contract obtained by the TAC reveal the speaking cost for the event was over $40,000 and was drawn from a university fund that is supplied with money from the administration, various departments, as well as student funds. Glover was paid $27,000 of that money as a speaking fee.
The revelation that student funds were used to bring Glover to campus directly contradicts a statement from an A&M spokesperson who told Campus Reform last month that student fees were not used. Full-time students pay a mandatory fee of $1,326.09 each semester or 2,652.18 for the year.
The conservative student group, the TAC, has responded to Glover’s remarks by circulating a petition demanding administrators provide a more balanced roster of school sponsored speakers. So far that petition has garnered about 1,200 signatories.
TAC recently settled a lawsuit against Texas A&M after administrators denied conservative and Christian student groups equal access to student organization funding.
So far, however, administrators, including Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, have defended the decision to invite Glover.
"I haven't met the Aggie yet that agrees with Mr. Glover,” he said in a press release late last month. “ But I've met every Aggie that agrees that he should be able to have the right, uniquely American, to say anything he wants to say about any subject."
Erich Schroeder, the Chairman of the TAC condemned the irresponsible use of university funding for events which feature one viewpoint, with no comparable program to represent an alternative view.
"Texas A&M spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on events that promote only the leftist worldview, and the Aggie Conservatives will not stop exposing this waste and abuse until true fairness and equality is achieved and the university administration returns its focus to providing a quality education to Texas's future workforce and leaders," said Schroeder.
Texas A&M Director of Marketing and Communications Sherylon Carroll did not respond to numerous attempts for comment on the petition.
Follow the author @TimPDion.
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