Magic Johnson speaking event will break the bank

In Opinion

Magic Johnson could be coming to talk at Cal State Fullerton in the spring. While it would be undeniably cool to have the former Laker Hall of Famer come to CSUF, his price tag seems beyond excessive.

By approval of the Associated Students, Inc. Board of Directors, Johnson could speak at CSUF for a whopping $90,000.

Of that $90,000, Associated Students has allocated $40,000 of their budget to the Business Inter-Club Council to pay for Johnson’s speaking fee.

Additional funds to meet the speaking price will come from Anil Puri, Ph.D., dean of the of Business and Economics, who will match Associated Students and donate $40,000 of his own money.

That $40,000 allocated from Associated Students comes directly from student fees. The same student fees that could be be allocated for music, art, theater and study abroad programs.

For reference, the funds allocated for Johnson to speak at CSUF equates to over a quarter of the entire arts exhibit budget ($152,400) for 2013-2014, according to Associated Student’s Instructionally Related Activities Budget.

The amount of money to be allocated for the one-time event did receive concerns from the board. Members and executive staff expressed concerns over the relevancy of topics, funding and success of the event. Additionally giving so much money to just one college might leave other colleges to ask why not us. Disappointingly, these concerns were not enough for the board to dismiss the event.

CSUF is an educational institution first, and before Associated Students shells out $40,000 of student money for Johnson to speak about business, it should make sure that all of its educational opportunities are fully funded first.
Cost aside, there must be someone better to address business students about business than a retired athlete.

Granted, Johnson has done quite well for himself post basketball career with his company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, which has a net worth of more than $1 billion. Johnson himself is worth about $500 million.

That’s a rare feat for a NBA player, where 60 percent of players file bankruptcy within five years of retirement, according to personal budgeting website Mint.com.

The insight Johnson can provide a college student is questionable at best. His path to business success differs significantly compared to the average CSUF student. Unlike Johnson, the average college student will probably not have international athletic fame to use as a crutch to improve their business prospects.

Bringing Johnson to CSUF with student money only begs the questions as to why.

Why are we paying $40,000? Most importantly, why Magic Johnson?

Despite the publicity Johnson would bring if he spoke on campus, the excitement of Johnson does not justify his cost.

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