California's public colleges and universities routinely invite controversial figures to their campuses. Students and faculty protest particular speakers. Opposing views get aired. Californians should expect this in an open academic environment.
But the hullaballoo over CSU Stanislaus' invitation to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for a fundraising event at its 50th anniversary gala in June reveals some cracks in the tradition of openness that should be fixed.
Some students found pages of what may be Palin's contract, and it clearly has clauses antithetical to the university's mission of openness:• Any questions to the speaker have to be pre-screened and asked by a designated representative;
• Any media coverage is subject to review and approval;
• Terms of the contract, including compensation, are confidential (and disclosure is deemed to cause "irreparable harm" to the speaker).
No public university in California should agree to such terms. The governing bodies of the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges need to set policies for public disclosure and open interaction.
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