Backlash starts for Palin visit to California university

Modesto BeeMarch 30, 2010 

TURLOCK -- Organizers knew that inviting former vice presidential candidate and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to California State University, Stanislaus, would generate talk.

"I didn't know it would be this big, this fast," said Matt Swanson, president of the university foundation, which invited Palin to headline a black-tie fund-raiser June 25.

Some of the fallout:

• State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, wants to know how much the foundation is paying Palin, pointing out that very few students could afford the $500 ticket price.

• A student group is organizing a protest and its own event to mark the university's 50th anniversary.

A professor started a Facebook group called "Sarah Palin, Terrible Choice for 50th Anniversary of CSU Stanislaus."

Swanson, who fielded an onslaught of media calls Monday, wasn't second-guessing the decision.

"I think I'm going to have to send Leland Yee a gift basket," he joked. "My advertising budget has gone to zero."

Yee, who has tried to pass legislation requiring foundations to disclose their expenses and contracts, issued a news release about his request that the foundation reveal what it's paying Palin to come to Turlock. She has commanded $100,000 in speaking fees.

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