Treasury funds Bristol Palin to speak on campus

| News Editor


Bristol Palin has been selected as keynote speaker for this year’s Sexual Responsibility Week at Washington University.

Student Union Treasury on Tuesday approved a $20,000 appeal by the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) to sponsor a four-person panel featuring Palin. The appeal was initially set at $25,000 and renegotiated.

The $20,000 comes from the Student Activity Fee collected from each undergraduate student at the beginning of the year. The Student Activity Fee is fixed at one percent of tuition.

While Palin has not formally agreed to the appearance yet, she is expected to do so shortly.

Students have already organized against the potential speech by Palin, organizing protests via Facebook and voicing complaints at the weekly SU Senate meeting on Jan. 26.

SHAC would not release the exact amount charged for Palin’s appearance. According to ABC News, Palin charges $15,000 to $30,000 for each appearance on the speakers’ circuit.

The originally scheduled panel included representatives from the Catholic Student Center, Missouri Right to Life, and Planned Parenthood. In order to address student concern that the panel leaned too far to the right of the political spectrum, SHAC selected Dr. Lisa Ross of Student Health Services as a replacement for the Missouri Right to Life representative.

Chuck Kennedy | MCT
The panel will address the issue of abstinence in a college setting.

The daughter of former Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, Bristol, now 20-years-old, has been a champion for abstinence since giving birth to her son Tripp shortly after the 2008 presidential election.

The younger Palin has appeared in a variety of pregnancy-prevention campaigns for The Candie’s Foundation.

Palin was also a finalist on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2010.

The event will be held in Graham Chapel at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7. to end the first day of Sex Week. The week, which seeks to start an open sexual dialogue, encourage students to experiment with sexual viewpoints that differ from their own and to provide wide-reaching sexual education, will continue through Feb. 12.

The event will begin with a 25-minute speech by Palin on her life story to be followed by an hour-long panel discussion and a half hour question-and-answer session. A reception will be held after the question and answer to allow students to interact with Palin one-on-one.

The final vote the approved funding went seven votes for bringing in Palin, four votes against and one abstention.

By hosting Palin as the keynote speaker, SHAC hoped to appease concerns with previous Sex Weeks while also highlighting this year’s series.

“We thought a big name like Bristol’s would help to start a dialogue,” SHAC President Scott Elman said. “We also wanted to target abstinence because SHAC and Sex Week have been criticized for being too liberal and too one-dimensional, and that the abstinence conversation hasn’t been brought up.”

Elman added SHAC’s decision has effectively ostracized a sizable portion of the University community.

“3,000, maybe 4,000 people haven’t engaged in sex. There’s a population on our campus that does practice abstinence and gets forgotten about,” Elman said. “It’s not that SHAC is bringing Bristol Palin and saying ‘this is it.’”

Some Treasury members felt that Palin’s speech would spark student interest.

“I know it will fill Graham Chapel, so to me, that’s value in itself,” said Treasury representative Daniel Bernard, a junior. “It brings the student body together in a way that we usually don’t have on this campus.”

Not all Treasury members, however, supported the decision to fund Palin to speak on campus.

“One concern I do have when we fund someone like Bristol Palin is, what really are we supporting? And to me it’s someone who is famous because they got pregnant at 18,” said freshman Jacob Trunsky, chair of the Budget Committee.

Students have mixed views on the keynote address.

“I just don’t see what she could possibly contribute to an intelligent, reasonable discussion about sex,” senior Toby Shepard said.

Sophomore Sherveen Mashayekhi, president of the College Democrats, had similar sentiments.

“While she is obviously an experienced person on the matter of teen pregnancy, she is an extremely polarizing presence in social and political terms and does not provide the right type of balancing, sensitive, well-rounded force to an issue as hot as sex on campus,” Mashayekhi said.

While SHAC recognizes that the choice may be controversial, its members believe that having the high-profile speaker will ultimately benefit the series.

“I understand that people are not going to be happy—this will probably be protested. We really just want to start dialogue and the fact that we’re bringing in a balanced panel should be taken into account,” Elman said. “We’re not just bringing in Bristol Palin, we’re bringing her in with three or four other educated people.”

With additional reporting by Kate Gaertner and Shayna Makaron.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a breaking news post, originally published at 10:50 p.m. on January 25.

  • Jason Parkins

    Miss Palin just have a second baby OOW, response?

  • Jason Parkins

    Miss Palin just have a second baby OOW, response?

  • Jason Parkins

    Miss Palin just have a second child OOW, would you like to response?

  • Jason Parkins

    Now that Bristol Palin have a second child Out of Wedlock, would you like to issue a statement other then congratulation?

  • Jason Parkins

    Now that Bristol Palin have a second child Out of Wedlock, would you like to issue a statement other then congratulation?

  • andorson23

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  • conscience

    What was Gloria Steinem paid?

    What was Van Jones paid?

    What are the other speakers at this event being paid?

    Suddenly, these very simple, fair questions seem to be very difficult for anyone at WU to answer, no?

  • conscience

    SHAC should be required now to disclose a list of speakers and what each person is getting paid.

  • Lilyannerose

    If that was MY money being handed to this young woman to give a talk that a lot of unwed mothers give without charging a fee I’d be pretty angry. Just what does Palin have in common with unwed moms as the Palins’ now have enough money to hire nannies? What a shame that someone with nothing more than mama’s name makes this kind of money. Really, why doesn’t the university find someone in the neighborhood to sit on the panel and give the $20,000 to a food bank?

  • conscience

    So much for free speech, or open debate at a university..

    A few very fearful fearful folks at WU may have invoked their own brand of McCarthyism and won this one, but they are exposing their university as the partisan political organization it has become. That will probably have consequences, at least with regard to alumni donations.

    Live Action and Students for Life of America were looking for colleges that were particularly in bed with those that kill infants and destroy women’s health. They need look no further than WU’s partnership with Planned parenthood. So the folks celebrating this win against free speech may not realize right now what they have started.

    For the rest of the rational, open minded folks at WU who did not get so angry over a simple little speech – I’m afraid these haters have made your school a direct target.

    Welcome to the Jungle, baby!

    • Kevin L.

      It’s not free speech if we’re paying. She has no right to $20,000. If she wanted to come, she’d be completely welcome if she came for free.

      McCarthyism? Ha.

      So the fact that the panel also included the Catholic Student Center and Missouri Right for Life means nothing?

      I for one will celebrate this victory wholeheartedly.

      • conscience

        So nobody promoting a different agenda than Palin’s is getting paid? They are all doing it for free?

        And yes, McCarthyism is present whenever fearful people, usually invoking slander and insults, silence a voice they would rather not hear. NONE of the other speakers you mentioned will be bringing the result of what NOT having an abortion is to this panel. I think that is what the far left at WU feared the most – and very stark reminder of what so many of them have alrwady done to their (missing) children.

        Planned parenthood and their ilk makes loads of money from keeping fear alive. Most notably, in this case, keeping the lie alive that a child in college always will ruin your life.

    • Alex

      conscience, I think you may be completely misguided on the notion of what ‘free speech’ is, and when it is protected. If the St. Louis County prosecutor arrested Bristol Palin because of her opinions, that would not be allowed by the free speech clause. But a private institution can act however it would like, as long as it doesn’t discriminate based on race or disability.

      So, far from being a place that promotes the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy of Abortion, Paganism, and Communism, Wash U has been a place to learn what the Constitution actually reads and means.

  • Steve

    Wow! Bristol Palin speaking about abstinence? Stick around, after that Charlie Sheen is going to speak about sober living. Hypocrisy knows no bounds in the Palin family. Anybody with half a brain knows that abstinence does not work. Human biology drives teens to sexual feelings and experimentation. You can’t tell them to ignore it. Teach them about safe sex. The Palins represent everything that is wrong with America. Zero intellect, greed and a huge sense of entitlement. Please America…I beg you…WAKE UP!!!

  • alaskakitty

    So, the students are paying this unwed mother to come and speak to them about sex. According to the father of her child, she knows a lot about it!!
    When are Americans gonna’ wake up and quit enriching this family with absolutely no credentials with our hard-earned dough? Sarah Palin makes more for one speech than I earned as an R.N. in one year working in an ICU, and I might add ‘working like a dog’. Nurses work hard, believe me. We don’t prance around in high heels lecturing people and having the government pay for our designer duds.

  • WhoaThereGirl

    I think they should move the event from Graham Chapel to the Illinois side, after all, we have Larry Flint’s Hustler Club and the Hollywood Club; she should feel at home there. She could talk about how you can dance & still be a good mom ;-)

    Dang! Those Palins might be as annoying as catching the flu, but they sure have good eyesight..Bristol spotted an easy $20k all the way from Alaska!

  • elizabeth curtis

    How can she possibly defend or describe the effectiveness of the abstinence-only education she received from Mama Grizzly S.P.? PLEASE, SOMEBODY! ASK THESE TWO QUESTIONS TOGETHER: “When you and Levi were in the heat of passion, did those ‘abstinence strategies’ come into your head when you needed them?” “Don’t you think a ‘condom-use strategy’ would have been a little easier to follow at that point?”

  • Amira

    People are lacking in their support for someone who is supporting abstinence because this person was not practicing abstinence at one point. We never reprimand a drug addict who gets him/herself clean and then speaks about drug abuse. Saying this, I do still believe there is a grand issue with choosing to give a large amount of money ($20,000) to Bristol Palin. Palin comes from a family of wealth and has had an overwhelming amount of support (both emotional and monetary) for being a single mother. The Student Union could choose a speaker who will have many equally as important ideas to share on abstinence (for example, a single mother who actually needs our support and needs the money). So many intelligent and needy single mothers have a voice and a child to take care of who would be unbelievably thankful for this opportunity.

  • Poor College Student

    $20 000 for this…?
    So burning the money just wasn’t an option?

    • William

      But rather than attack the bigots, the Establishment Media attacked Bristol and defended the bigots. To top it all off, Huffpo and St. Louis’ own Riverfront Times each reported that Bristol’s honorarium was to be $20,000, WHEN IN FACT, $20,000 was the amount dedicated to the ENTIRE speakers panel – not just Bristol. It’s no small matter: it’s representative of a small campaign to vilify and condemn Bristol. As if what’s going on here is about money

      From Jonathon Burns article – Washington University Bans Bristol Palin, Spreads Oppression, Bigotry and Hate

  • chemgirl

    If this committee is interested in finding a teenage mom to talk about abstinence, I am sure there are many qualified young mothers in the St. Louis area who could make better use of $20,000 than Bristol.

  • Matt

    Hope she is asked why abstinance only is such a failure where kids make the pledge and then end up having un-protected sex (she being a prime example). Statistically it is better to hand out rubbers than it is to make a pledge. Also, too, what about the increase in sexually transmitted diseases from anal or oral sex practices that still maintain “virginity”.

  • George Anderson

    Why have there not been recall petitions for the seven Treasury members?

    They have clearly acted to egregiously disregard their constituents and have dealt considerable damage to the national reputation of the university and the value of the degrees issued bu WUSTL. I for one will never give the school another dime as an alum.

    This Treasury has shown its blatant disregard for its constituents in the past and many SU officers have shown that they feel they are “otherworldly” failing to remember that they serve at YOUR pleasure–Not the other way around!

    Will someone please start a recall for the Palin 7?
    Who knows… They might decide to move to reconsider…

    • In the words of Dennis Reynolds, “You’re a fool!”

      Well then why didn’t anyone go to treasury to voice their opinion on the matter when it could have been resolved then? They were elected by the students. It’s how government works. A recall for the Palin 7? So because you didn’t like one single appeal they funded, they don’t deserve to serve anymore? What about all the events and speakers they funded, costing more than Palin, that you did enjoy? No one called for the impeachment of Obama based on his healthcare reform, oh wait, they did, they were called tea partiers. You have now joined their ranks.

      • George Anderson

        I would have loved to have gone to treasury…but i do not make a habit of going. NOT ONCE was it made known to any significant degree that that is what was on the agenda.

        This is an ongoing issue with SU and Treasury. They (likely somewhat intentionally) obfuscate and then when the student population gets unhappy they blame and chastise the students for not speaking up sooner. Very classy.

        BTW, Tea Party? Really? The Tea Party last tallied as about 5 percent of the country. 90 percent of students in the poling data disagree with this allocation and her appearance.

        This level of disconnect from the body that elected the representatives needs to be addressed. 90 percent speaks volumes. They have outstayed their usefulness.

      • William

        Yea having Van Jones is a great speaker. Follow him unto your own destruction. His group is using young college students so that they are highly unemployed and they are entitled to healthcare, job and if they don’t get it they need to riot. I think for myself thank you. But seeing these college students of today who will always be a follower till the day they die I no what it means when the bible says in the last days they will believe a lie. This generation is lost but mine is full of leaders for such a time as this. The truth shall set you free while rules for radicals is the book of lies and evil the book this generation follows will bind their minds and souls into slavery. It is the tactics of Satan and is dedicated to him.

  • Michael

    Since she’s qualified to speak about Sexual Responsibility? Seriously!?

    You just lost any money I would have given to you WashU. Well done.

    • William

      We no that Van Jones is great at speaking about uprising, riots, destruction of the framework we call the constitution. He definitely is this eras Marx and Che.

  • Mary

    I would hate to see this affect alumni/donor donations and contributions to the school. This has nothing to with tuition money, the endowment or donations to the university. If you want to know exactly where your money is going when you donate to the university, donate to a scholarship and directly contribute to helping those who cannot afford to come to a school as great as washu. I’d hate to see this affecting scholarships and the ability for students in need to come to this school.

  • WUSTL Student
  • Class of 2009

    Of those 3000-4000 students who have not engaged in sex, I bet you that 2000-3000 really really want to.

  • jm

    I wish the University would invite more controversial speakers. The Assembly Series should strive to invite at least one controversial public speaker each semester.

  • bobo

    Wow. What does this school teach–Idiocracy?

    Do you hold classes in trailers too?

  • 1996 Alum

    Just as I was gearing up to make another donation to the university (I’m an alum from the class of 1996) they pull this. I think I’ll send my $250 to an organization that won’t waste it on hypocrites whose only credentials are that they got pregnant at 18 and have famous parents.

    • Josh

      Your donations to the University will go nowhere near events like this… This was a decision by a student group and Student Union to fund their decision, and the money comes from the Student Activities Fee which comes only from current students, has no relation to the endowment, tuition, or alumni donations. Instead of donating directly to the University if you are concerned where this is going, donate directly to a SCHOLARSHIP and know that will directly be helping students in need.

      I’d hate to see this affect any donations towards scholarships because there plenty of current and future students who really need the help.

      • james

        Too late. When the University behaves foolishly, it has a direct effect on donations.

        • In the words of Dennis Reynolds, “You’re a fool!”

          Good logic there bud.

        • Matt

          I personally don’t think Wash. U. acts “foolishly” when it gives a student group the freedom and opportunity to create events like this, then makes them deal with the consequences.

          Taking away that ability makes as much sense as teaching abstinence-only: We students will often make bad choices. We need to learn how to deal with them appropriately.

      • CollegePayingParent

        And how many of those students have parents who are 1- paying their kids tuition bill and
        2- how many of those parents are alumni who also donate?

        Yeah, you didn’t think of that point.

  • wetcasements

    Worst. Party School. Ever.

    • EML

      I beg to differ. Don’t judge a whole student body (90% of whom disagree with this choice) based off of one action of an admittedly out-of-touch student government.

  • UGH

    If we can’t keep her from coming, I hope people ask questions like these so we can see A. the look on her face and B. how ridiculously ineffective this panel will be in sparking any real conversation on abstinence.

    “How have contemporary discourses constructed the idea of virginity and how has that impacted the definition of sex? What are the facts and how should they inform public policy? Is there such a thing as sex-positive abstinence education? What might it look like? How can the dialogue make space for older virgins or those who have abstained from sex for secular reasons?” (from

    • Gg

      So, let’s find the best way to embarrass her and make her feel stupid? She’s a person and most likely she’s trying to follow her personal value system and do something good for others. And even if she’s not, grow up find a better way to deal with your frustrations.

      You are actually, literally suggesting that people who attend should TRY to prevent dialogue. Clearly you’ve missed out on some fundamental information about being decent and effective when making a point.

      • w8justaminut

        No UGH is suggesting dialog that is clearly above your intelligence level, as well as above Mrs I-got-knocked-up-instead-of-attending-college-Palin’s intelligence.

    • EML

      NO! The problem here is not Bristol Palin, but the STUDENT UNION’S choice to waste TONS OF PRECIOUS SPEAKER MONEY on bringing someone UNQUALIFIED AND UNINFORMATIVE.


      • Not Golem

        Precious? Really, precious?



        • Gg

          Best comment.

  • dianatrent

    I attended the Senate meeting tonight and I’d just like to say that the main grounds put forward to justify bringing Palin here are basically the same as mentioned in the article — to represent the abstinence perspective and generate interest in the topic (&, comments seemed to suggest, in student government). There was some passion on the part of senators on the latter point. So basically I’m saying that you haven’t prejudged the issue if you decided based on the justifications printed in the paper.

    • dianatrent

      I should point out that the senate was far from being of one mind on the issue and it seemed like more were against her speaking than for it, though I never counted.

  • farmer

    It is humorous to see students complain about Palin coming to Wash U because of pecuniary consideratons. It appears that most of those complaining have not been able to differentiate between tuition and student fees. Maybe they should instead protest the student health fee when their parents are also paying for dependent health care that will become more expensive thanks to recent national socialization legislation. I sound condescending because I am. You complainers lack maturity. Eventually you will understand. Good luck.

    • Zach

      Actually, the fact that it is coming from our student activities fees means we are the direct funders of this event, willing or not. Your comment on student health fees and health insurance is irrelevant. How does differentiating between tuition and student fees show lack of maturity? Your argument lacks reason and coherence.

    • dianatrent

      There’s a matter of value to consider. Even if I accept that I shoudn’t complain about one expense because I don’t complain about another (I don’t accept that), it doesn’t follow that I can’t complain about how the money is spent — which speaker the money pays for.

      Can I point out that I find it delightful that someone who is probably a fiscal conservative is suggesting that I’m immature for complaining how my money is spent by my representatives? Utterly hilarious.

      • farmer

        You missed the point. Someone else paid the money, not you. That’s how us simple folk look at things. (I can’t wait to see how you young’uns in Missouri will turn out)

        • dianatrent

          I’m sorry, who is it that’s paying my tuition and fees and why am I still receiving the bill?

          • farmer

            An auto mechanic, a public school teacher, and other benevolent entities. Not you. Try to be more grateful for your good circumstances.

        • Anon

          You’re being a presumptuous ass. I’m paying my own way through school and I see this as a waste of MY money, thank you.

      • WashU is a lot like Fox News

        Way to turn this into a political thing dianatrent. Congratulations on justifying the perspective of every person who said the reason for not wanting Palin to come is political intolerance. Which it is. Boom roasted.

    • Gg

      Yup. This complaining is very opportunistic, as if all of a sudden students realize that quite a bit of money doesn’t go towards strictly educational resources.

    • notforsale

      Dear farmer,

      I just wanted you to know that there is real maturity and reasoning in petitioning (not simply complaining) the presence of Bristol Palin as a speaker on abstinence at Wash U and the $20K of Student Activities Fees that is being paid in order to bring her here. This is $20,000 that could be used for far greater purposes, such as allocating funds to groups that actually need them, including the many social action groups here on campus. That is the real issue here, and I would ask that you please be mindful of that when voicing your opinion.


      A Concerned Student

      • TT

        I think that this is a valid point. You are just about the only person to have stated this opinion in a respectful, non-elitist manner. I appreciate that. Now what about all of the other spending WashU does? I don’t see any editorials or comments being written about how that needs to be cut down. The fact is, there are a lot of things that could change if the ultimate goal were to “[allocate] funds to groups that actually need them.”

    • sally

      Get on back to the farm, farmer, and speaking of complainers, reread your comment. Good luck.

  • Jacob P. Marley

    Just an update, a friend of mine is running the Facebook-based petition. We are up to 250 signatures as of 11:52 pm. Given the poll numbers above, it seems like a solid 90% of us are against spending such an enormous amount of money on bringing in Bristol Palin. Sign the petition and get as many other WashU students to do likewise:

    • anon

      I wish I was a student and could do this to help the students nullify this idiot from speaking ANYWHERE in St. Louis.

  • j888

    I’m not sure the amount of money bristol is being paid is really the issue. She brings a particular viewpoint to the discussion and celebrity clout to ensure that it is heard. Lots of folks get paid for this sort of PSA all the time. That said, I hope that bristol eventually takes the time to look into research regarding the efficacy of abstinence only education. While her own personal narrative regarding this issue has brought her to a strong opinion regarding prevention education the research shows that abstinence only education is not only ineffective, but dangerous.

  • sue major

    what can a high school drop out contribute to college students who are focus on their educational goals and working to that end. To reward Palin with a hefty check is an insult to struggling students who have made many sacrifices to be in college, who will still have to work at least six months to make that kind of money with a degree.
    What are they thinking???

  • Nick

    Obviously a waste a money. People talking about $20k being worth if for the discussion it will generate are full of shit. Really, experiences she has gone through that we haven’t? Teenage pregnancy is not exactly the rarest event in present-day US, even not at “elite” institutions such as WUSTL. And don’t try to say that her teenage pregnancy is anywhere near the same as the average teenage pregnancy in the US. Apparently her “teenage pregnancy” was such a significant barrier that she is now able to make more in a day of “speaking” than I make in a month after spending 200k to attend WUSTL. Hopefully here fees were at least paid for by garbage trustees like Sam Fox so we don’t have to feel too bad about where our tuition money is going.

  • TT

    Not a WashU student, but I think the comments on this story clearly show that WashU students think they have nothing to learn from the lives of others. Regardless of whether or not you agree with her viewpoints, decisions, etc., she has gone through an experience that you haven’t, and thereby has something valuable to offer. If you can’t see how you can learn from that, then your ridiculously expensive education is worthless. I certainly hope none of you are planning on working with people. Please either get real or stay in your silly ivory tower.

    The rest of the world.

    • Anony

      The issue isn’t her speaking. The issue is paying her $15,000+ (of money WE pay the school) to speak on an issue for which she is not an authority. An issue on which any number of women might have more expertise… Such as a woman who was also a teen mom but made it through college anyway, and could really use the money. This is a burden Bristol Palin did not have… because she has the luxury of schools like mine paying her $15,000 to speak on an issue (abstinence) she herself said is ineffective. I do not support her free ride.

      Also, if you want to make a point and start a dialogue, insulting us is a pretty bad way to go about it.

      • TT

        Since my comment didn’t go through, I’ll have to rephrase it.

        Sorry if you found my original post insulting.

        Here’s what I found insulting, as a St. Louis resident:

        1. The “this isn’t Mizzou!” mentality.
        2. The comments about finding pregnant teens in St. Louis.
        3. The sense of superiority. The sense that this is an “atrocity” and it’s “disgusting.” Are you kidding? Some of us have real problems. $20K is nothing to WashU.

        • EML

          Since Anony’s comment didn’t go through, I’ll have to rephrase it:

          1. $20,000 dollars could have been used to learn from the life of a real, troubled teen/college mother as well as from a handful of other interesting, real people.
          2. Bristol Palin is not the best person to teach us about the philosophy of abstinence.
          3. You are the one who appears to have a twisted sense of superiority. We’d rather hear from someone with real problems – not Bristol Palin.


    • dianatrent

      Are you saying no one at Wash U has had an unplanned pregnancy? Are you joking? Or maybe you mean that none of us have gotten rich by having an unplanned pregnancy. The later statement may be true, but I don’t think it means we should pay B Palin $20k to tell us about it. Furthermore we are not saying we can’t learn from the experiences of others — we’re not objecting to the idea of any speaker, we’re objecting to this speaker. We’re saying that we have more to learn from someone who has more knowledge and experience than a twenty-year-old rich kid from rural Alaska, and for $20k we can get that someone to come here and talk to us.

      • TT

        I never said that nobody had ever experienced an unplanned pregnancy. I think that Bristol can speak from a perspective that many students are unfamiliar with, and she’s a big name as well. I’m sure that her wealth and lifestyle has informed her perspective, but nevertheless I think that her presence can spark a useful dialogue and should be valued for that if nothing else.

        I understand what you’re saying – that you can get someone else for the same amount of money. But would somebody else get as much attention, and probably attendance, as this?

      • whysoserious

        There are a lot of comments on this page that really irritate me. If you don’t support her, fine. Go sign the petitions. But why are people throwing out ridiculous statements like “we have more to learn from someone who has more knowledge and experience than a twenty-year-old rich kid from rural Alaska”. Regardless of your intentions, you’re saying she doesn’t have sufficient knowledge to speak to you because she’s young, rich, and from a rural area?! So to be worthy she needs to be older, poorer, and from a city?!?!?!?!

        • Gg

          I mean, according to some of these comments, you take a walk in the streets of St. Louis and you just practically fall into an unwed mother! Probably poor! And black! Because that’s what it’s like here, haven’t you read about North St. Louis???

        • TT

          If anything, you’d think it be easier for WashU students to relate to another spoiled brat with an unrealistic world view. No offense, of course.

          • dianatrent

            Not that it’s really any of your concern, but my father is an auto mechanic and my mother is a public school teacher. I was raised working poor and that’s one of the reasons I find it so offensive that when I object to being tutored by a rich kid who has never worked an honest day in her life I’m charged with being an elitist.

        • dianatrent

          whysoserious – by your logic I could say that, if you suppport her, just go sign the counter petitions. Are you suggesting I somehow have less right to express myself than you because I’m con rather than pro?

          And to TT, you never really specified what “experience” we hadn’t had, so if I was unclear on that point, you have yourself to blame. & I’m still not exactly clear on that, and I wonder if the reason you aren’t being more specific is because you don’t want to say something to the effect of, that because she’s a presidential candidates daughter she has something unique and useful to tell us, since that doesn’t sound very persuasive.

          But yes, in response to the criticism, I do think that someone who has more life experiences than a 20-year-old who’s been supported in luxury while raising her child for only a few years does have more of note to tell us. I’m not sure how that can be in dispute, and I wonder if the reason it makes people irritated is because they have no reasoned response to it. This person could be older OR poorer OR from a city OR college-educated OR I would settle for someone who is simply less expensive.

          • TT

            At the end of the day, regardless of the circumstances surrounding her life (wealthy, luxurious lifestyle, politician’s daughter, etc.), she has experience with teen pregnancy that I’m sure a large population of WashU students lack. That’s the experience that I’m speaking about. I’m not claiming that there’s never been a WashU student that experienced a teen pregnancy. But by and large, for most college-going students, that is a foreign experience.

            As far as her speaking versus someone else speaking, I do agree that there’s probably a better candidate. I’m sure there’s someone who has a really fascinating, intelligent perspective on the entire issue and would perhaps even cost less.

            However, the $20K is minor in the realm of WashU’s spending, and my comment is less about Bristol herself and more about how ridiculous it is that you’re all complaining to this degree. Yes, it’s silly that it’s Bristol. But there are also advantages – creating a public dialogue such as this one, and increasing attendance to the event.

          • whysoserious

            dianatrent – I’m suggesting nothing of the sort. I meant exactly what I said: if you don’t support her speaking, that’s fine. Just make negative comments about her because she’s young and has lived a privileged life.

            You just made a negative comment about your rich kid tutor, too. I’m sorry…but you need to accept that some people live privileged lifestyles. That is how the world works. It’s ridiculous to hate on someone for something they don’t even control.

          • dianatrent

            Those are reasons I can understand, even if I don’t agree. I think you’re right that there’s been dialogue in the sense that people have been talking, but honestly I don’t think it’s been (or will be) a productive dialogue. Has anyone arrived at a better understanding of the views of the other side? Has anyone learned anything about teen pregnancy or abstinence (whatever that is)? Anymore I just don’t think humans are good at changing their minds or even giving contrary views a fair hearing. I’m not leveling this accusation at you, specifically. We’re all guilty of it. It’s late.

          • dianatrent

            my last comment was @TT, not whysoserious who evidently is committed to making terrible arguments all night if necessary. I never denied that people live privileged lifestyles. Not only do I accept it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But it doesn’t follow that we should give them 20k to talk to us about it.

          • dianatrent


          • whysoserious

            HAHA OKAY. My arguments are terrible…not that you’ve actually responded to them. But I have better things to do than argue with people like you. Obviously you don’t, since you’ve commented more than anyone on here. But I think it’s fair to bring up the fact that you using Palin’s wealth as an argument against her…which you do..again and again. This is the last you’ll hear from me, so have fun with the arguing on this blog for the next few weeks. =)

    • Anon


      1. We apologize that we do not come from such wealthy backgrounds that we can throw around $20,000 of our tuition money towards bringing in a speaker who has only gained fame through her mother. Her experience is quite unique-after all, most teenage mothers do not have the luxury of having a celebrity mother where money is not a concern.

      2. Considering you are implying that we should consider the views of others, which we do every single day at our fine academic institution, why don’t you assuage the main problem here (the $20,000 if you aren’t following) and contribute the money yourself? We wouldn’t mind listening her view, but we do mind unloaded that magnitude of money for her.

      3. When you are attacking our institution, at least have some merit to do so. Indicating that we reside in a “silly ivory tower” with such “ridiculously expensive education” only goes to show that you do not value the importance of a competitive education. From what I can gather, you have no business in attempting to represent the views of “The rest of the world.” Although I could be wrong, and in that case, please make your donation of $20,000 to Student Union- Washington University in St. Louis.

      • farmer

        You sillly ivory towered students will learn soon enough when the government and academia can no longer support the extravagance of $40,000 tuitions. Diminishing returns of over-priced educations will end some of those educations soon! Why do you kids think that your school is ramping up for record enrollment? Somebody in charge of the university checkbook decided that we need more tuition cash. I don’t know TT, but he/she will be able to bury most of the liberal arts thinkers in the common sense skills that are not part of your $250,000 B.A. degrees. If any Wash U. student disagrees with this you certainly may. However, your argument is castrated because you are a welfare recipient of your education. Someone else is paying for it. The real world-that is the world outside of academia and government- will be very cruel to those of you who think yourselves above the garbage man and ditch digger and unskilled girl formerly from Alaska.

        • TT

          I agree with parts of this. I’m a liberal arts student as well, at a much cheaper university that still provides a quality education. I have no major problem with WashU as an institution, but I think that many of the students fail to see beyond their very privileged, highly academic, and unrealistic world views.

        • Zach

          What comment do you refer to that says any Wash. U. student thinks we are superior? If it is one comment, is that really enough to generalize that opinion to the 6,000 Wash. U. undergraduates? Get off your pedestal you ignorant fool. We are not saying we are superior, we are saying she is unqualified to speak about the topic in which she has no expertise in – abstinence just as when we comment that an poor performing player in a professional sports team should be kicked off. We aren’t anywhere near the skill level of those players but we can still make judgements on how well they perform and how overpaid they are based on those performances.

          • TT

            Honestly, I’m not sure where to start if you didn’t find your fellow students’ comments elitist and insulting. I don’t know how to explain superiority to someone who is so oblivious. But congrats on the “Get off your pedestal you ignorant fool” line. Really, fabulous insult.

        • Quite Sad


      • TT

        WashU is a wealthy institution. The $20K is not the biggest deal in the world. How much does WILD cost? Or any of the other wonderful things afforded to WashU students that students at other schools don’t expect? It’s really FINE for WashU to spend this much money pulling in a big name that can speak from a particular perspective. That’s my main point.

        • EML

          The money doesn’t come from WashU – it comes from the Students’ Activities fee, which is paid directly and exclusively by the students. Is this unclear?

      • Gg

        “We apologize that we do not come from such wealthy backgrounds that we can throw around $20,000 of our tuition money towards bringing in a speaker who has only gained fame through her mother.”

        You claim to want your tuition dollars to be used more frugally, and you assume TT is advocating that you throw them away. But I think you should consider WashU’s regular spending habits (Student Union Treasury and otherwise). Spending 20,000 on Bristol is totally unnecessary, but it’s a drop in the pan compared to the money WashU pays on free food, entertainment, etc. for students. If you can’t be throwing money around, then is it ok with you that your money is spent on pizza, beer, and cupcakes given away to students? “Free” food alone costs WashU students much more than 20,000 a semester. Clearly the money for Palin means a lot to you, but why? Just because it’s for Palin? It doesn’t seem appropriate for you to act haughty about not being from a wealthy background, despite the fact that your concerns about frugality seem, to me, opportunistic.

        “only goes to show that you do not value the importance of a competitive education”

        Maybe TT is angry, justifiably so, because competitive education in the US is incredibly unjust, and made possible only through racism and classism. You should value your opportunity to get a good education, but it’s completely reasonable for people to criticize the ivory tower. You are definitely mistaken if you think “the rest of the world” thinks WashU’s tuition rate is justified. Make no mistake, as this Palin incident proves, it isn’t. WashU students are paying for a great education, but they’re also paying for a lot of bullshit, bullshit that raises costs and keeps deserving students from affording a “competitive education.”

        • TT


      • TT

        Also… Not sure where you got the idea that I come from a wealthy background, or am unable to represent a view of someone who is outside the ‘ivory tower’ realm. Your whole post is all sorts of confusing to me, and either you’ve grossly misinterpreted who I am and what I’m saying, or you’re just another idiot commenting in this thread. Don’t care one way or the other, to be honest.

        • KL

          Common sense can only get you so far if you cannot even understand sarcasm. Fact of the matter is, you do not go to this school. Or rather, you couldn’t get INTO this school. So please, limit your comments to things that actually pertain to you.

          • Gg

            This is incredibly vile and ignorant in so many ways. Shutting out the voice of someone who could offer an alternative perspective because they are presumably less intelligent than you? Because they don’t go to the same institution, it’s because they couldn’t get into it? As if there would be no other reason?

            You seem to actually think that where a student attends college is directly proportional to how valid that person’s viewpoints are. That’s absolutely disgusting.

          • TT

            Wow. I am actually floored by the comment that I “couldn’t get INTO this school.” I thought I had already seen the worst of WashU tonight, but I guess not. And if the original post was an attempt at sarcasm, it was a very poor one.

          • whysoserious

            These condescending comments are getting ridiculous. It’s a pretty ignorant remark for someone who thinks they are so intellectually superior. Going to a top school does not make you better than others.

          • TT

            I keep coming back to this comment, awestruck. If anyone reading this thread is wondering, THIS is the problem with WashU. Flag it. Highlight it. Read it and cringe. Do something about it. #theproblemwithwashu

          • Gg


            TT’s comments are among the most intelligent and well-written on the thread. I want to transfer to wherever he/she goes and stay the heck away from the unconsidered opinions of classmates like you.

    • sue

      Good Lord, is that you, Bristol??? Learned how to hit spell-check?

    • Pops

      You forget yourself Sir, we already know that an expensive college education is nothing more then a bargaining chip for a job and a name on a piece of paper.

      But yeah, I concur. Although I feel an ivory tower would cost much more than $40k+ a year.

      Man, I’m bored and don’t really care about this argument. Just suck it up and put your differences aside.

  • James

    I have created a facebook group to get ideas to begin the process of petitioning Student Union to repeal this funding called “Wash. U. Petition Against SHAC Bristol Palin Funding”. If you feel strongly about this, I encourage you to join and contribute your ideas.

  • Pingback: Abstinence: Will the real Bristol Palin please shut up | Illusions and Delusions()

  • Khesanhkid

    Comments are very illuminating….but a very important side issue is missing, i.e. Bristol, along with sister Willow, participating in the homophobic slurs incident on Facebook. Granted, this doesn’t bear upon the immediate argument, but why is Washington U. paying someone $25 who discriminates against alternate life stylers? Secondly, Bristol, contrary to the article, has not championed abstinence since having the baby. She was quoted to say abstinence does not work, but then was swept into brainwashing by her mother which resulted in a $30,000 speakers fee rate for abstinence. The author needs to do research prior to writing or is this indicative of today’s journalistic standards. Bristol Palin needs to be sent home in lieu of perhaps a disabled 20 year old Veteran who can speak authoritatively on the subject and pain, sex and death.

  • Pingback: News With Sex » Blog Archive » Bristol Palin to speak during Sex Week()

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  • kai

    hahaha, go Wash U, the home of higher education.

    who are the ignoramuses on your SHAC??? I guess they invited Bristol as a cautionary tale – the purpose of her sex life seems to only serve as a warning to others :)

    • Pops

      What cautionary tale is that? Get knocked up after going through what I would consider a poor sexual education method and make over $100,000 a year from just speaking for a few hours.

  • Tito

    Is she going to speak about how to do it ????

  • Pingback: Bristol Palin charges $15-30,000 per speech on the lecture circuit - FlyerTalk Forums()

  • hatersgonhate

    What impact would someone who has remained abstinent speaking about it have? The benefits of abstinence are pretty obvious. It seems to me that a mother speaking about the negative ways that having a child has affected her life would be far more persuasive. I don’t really support Bristol as the speaker, but I the reason isn’t that she has a child and is speaking about abstinence.

  • Goodwin

    Vegeta! What does the scouter say about Bristol Palin’s speaker fee?

    • Vegeta


  • elizabeth curtis

    You’re describing Ms. Palin as educated?

  • me

    A+ biased press

  • Tweet me

    Check out the support of the boycott from actress Kate Walsh and Ms. Magazine on twitter!

  • WU alum

    How hard can it be to be abstinent in the remote regions depicted on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” anyway? I wonder why she is always taking Bristol out on camping trips in the middle of nowhere. hmm…Your options for sexual partners are what? the Russians (who you can only admire from afar), the bears (which you need to kill and eat for dinner) and Eskimos (for lunch?)

    I would like someone to just ask her the following simple questions, which I think we already know the answers to…
    1. Did you go to college? If so, for how many days did you attend?

    2. Do you think abstinence-only sex education is effective?
    3. Did you receive abstinence-only sex education?
    I foresee a tad of self-contradiction.

    • Anonymous

      “Did you go to college? If so, for how many days did you attend?”

      Wow “WU alum” way to be an intellectual elitist by looking down on someone for not going to college.

      • JD

        The name of the panel is “abstinence in a college setting” if she didn’t effectively remain abstinent and she never went to college then how is she a qualified speaker for this panel??

        • Anonymous

          1.) No she clearly did not remain abstinent…but she’s speaking about the potential consequences of having sex, which she is obviously qualified to speak about. Why do former drug addicts lecture about the dangers of drug use? Why do gang members speak about avoiding the gang lifestyle?

          2.) Everyone needs to get over this unqualified business. Like or or not, Bristol Palin has made a career out of giving these lectures. I don’t think it gets more qualified than that.

          • dianatrent

            Whoa whoa whoa. So by making a career of something, you’re qualified? So career politicians are, necessarily, qualified? I’m trying to avoid making fun of you, but it’s getting difficult. If we’re talking about the bare minimum threshold of “qualified,” really, anyone who can talk is qualified to give a keynote address. Fortunately we (or at least most of us) aren’t talking about that kind of qualification. We’re talking about degrees of qualification, or relative qualification, if you like. If you’re spending $20k, you can afford to be selective. You can afford to hire someone who has a little, no, A LOT more knowledge & life experience on the subject than Bristol Palin. So why her? The reason we’re given is to generate interest. That, to most of us (see poll results) is not enough, nor should it be. We’re not 12-year-old girls obsessed with celebrities. We’re college students.

          • Anonymous

            So are you saying that becoming a gang member, killing a bunch of people, getting caught and then coming out “clean” and “reformed”, I can become a 20,000 dollar a pop speaker! (10,000 dollars an hour). I’m probably going into the wrong profession!

      • dianatrent

        Can I mention how unsurprising it is that every criticism of the decision to pay $20k to bring B Palin to campus is countered with charges of elitism? It’s not terribly persuasive to the rest of us, even if you find it auto-therapeutic. Simply saying the word isn’t an argument, it’s an insult. I’d give you more credit if you explained why it’s unjustifiable to expect someone who is being paid $20k to be a keynote speaker about sexual responsibility to have more to say about the subject than ‘I got knocked up and it kind of (but not really) put a cramp in my style.’ There are quite a few mothers in the world with similar, if more generalizable, experience who wouldn’t require $20k.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t even know where to start at this point. I guess I don’t think it’s necessary for someone to have a Ph D to talk about abstinence. I mean, who would you have come in her place?

          Also, my use of the word elitism was in response to someone criticizing her just because she didn’t go to college.

          And to anonymous, I wasn’t saying anyone should become a reformed gang member to make 20,000, I was saying that that’s the way it is so DEAL.

          • dianatrent

            Oh, did I say it was necessary to have a PhD? I don’t think so, & I’m not sure why you would assume that except as a (terribly transparent) straw man.

            In her place I would prefer anyone. Literally ANYONE. But, in keeping with the event’s theme, I would say anyone who either supports abstinence but has a fee substantially less than Palins, anyone who has studied and written about the issue, or anyone who has had an unplanned child who has endured serious financial hardship in raising it.

            My criticism of your use of ‘elitism’ was because you didn’t explain why you think having been a college student is not relevant to speaking at an event about sexual responsibility among college students.

            And, really, you don’t know where to start? You only made two points in response to my post.

  • Reuben

    SU Senate is not responsible for paying $20k to Bristol Palin to speak on abstinence during Sexual Responsibility week, but we should let our SU representatives know how we stand on the issue.

  • Student

    I’m impressed with how much talk this has gotten. National Media attention and this much talk from a student body as apathetic as we have here at Washu, it was probably worth spending 20 gs for all this talk.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. The dialogue that this has created today is worth 20k in my opinion. I hope that this kind of passion comes through in other topics, as well.

      • dianatrent

        If outrage is dialogue and dialogue is worth money, I guess we should hire the most divisive figures we can find. We’ll always get our money’s worth, by your logic.

    • Anony

      too bad all this “talk” centers around a worthless nobody, and that 20k is going to that worthless nobody.

    • CA

      You’re impressed with the national media attention?! I’m incredibly embarrassed. None of it puts our school in a favorable light. For being such a highly regarded/ranked university, WashU definitely runs under the radar in comparison to other schools of our standing. I really hate to think that this is how the vast majority of the world is first hearing about our school. We’re spending $20K to be ridiculed.

  • Kevin L.

    So if Student Union wanted this to be balanced, then why did they bring three traditionally conservative groups (Catholic Student Center, Right to Life, and Bristol Palin) while only having Planned Parenthood to represent the liberal side?

    • Anonymous

      The panel discussion is one activity during sex week. If you look at the other planned events, I definitely don’t think you’ll see a conservative bias.

  • Anonymous

    she dumb, y’all.

  • Marieke

    Preaching abstinence-only sex education is bad enough, but the fact that she’s clearly only doing it for money and fame makes it that much worse. She obviously didn’t care too much about abstinence in her own life, and she said in an interview that it’s just not realistic. But upon finding out that she could make big bucks as a pro-abstinence speaker for the Candies Foundation, she all of a sudden changed her mind, and now abstinence-only is the ticket. Even though that kind of education is probably why she got pregnant in the first place. (She and Levi only used condoms “most of the time.”

    She doesn’t have any authority to talk about the “struggles of teen pregnancy” because her circumstances are far from typical. Her family is rich, and she has a huge support system. If anything, she’s glamorizing teen motherhood. Hell, she’s buying herself a 5 bedroom house in Arizona for college. If anything, her pregnancy and motherhood have been easier than that of the average, older, married, working woman.

    I’m seriously upset about this decision, and encourage people to protest and boycott the event. As an Alaskan, I find Bristol Palin to be a complete embarrassment to my state. Now my university is endorsing her? Great. Just great. Where should I and other students/parents address protest letters to?

  • K

    $19,975.34=166,600 condoms on at $11.99 per 100. About 6,000 undergraduates with 166,600 condoms = about 28 condoms per student.

    Or you can think about it as roughly $3 per student. Whether you go or not.

  • K

    xhe518, people aren’t talking about abstinence and sex week, they’re talking about how stupid it is to pay to bring Bristol Palin to campus. So no, there has been no accomplishment.

  • BML

    $25k for Bristol to speak about abstinence? Shameful! I bet you could find a dozen pregnant teenagers in the St. Louis high schools who are more qualified to speak about abstinence. And unlike Bristol, they actually need that money.

  • xhe518

    Just looking at the attention this allocation has brought to the topic of abstinence and the Sex Week, I support Treasury’s decision. Of course it has to be Bristol Palin, or how many people on this campus will give a s*** about some scholar’s lecture on abstinence?

    • Anonymous


      • David

        You could ask all the people who attended talks throughout the past several years. Speakers over the past five years:

        Dr. Sue Johanson (of Talk Sex with Sue)
        Ron Jeremy
        Drew Pinksy (of Loveline with Dr. Drew)
        Dan Savage
        Tristan Taormino

        These people are all well-known, drew big crowds, and had qualifications to talk about sex other than having failed to use a condom.

    • L

      Really? Because the discussion in these comments or on facebook or in classrooms happening right now on campus and elsewhere is NOT on the merits of abstinence or the decision to include an abstinence speaker during sex week. It IS, however, about Bristol Palin and her qualifications to speak at the panel, as well as outrage at Student Union for spending so much money on a candidate that people do not approve of. I have yet to see anyone comment that abstinence should not be covered during Sex Week. In fact, I’d say a general consensus among students is that a speaker or workshop or event based around abstinence probably SHOULD be included during sex week. These are not productive discussions about the merits of abstinence or including abstinence in the program, which makes funding a speaker to spark interest in abstinence only to distract from it by creating extra controversy a pretty worthless idea.

  • Kate

    What in the world does she have to say to Wash. U. students?

    • AM

      What’s that supposed to mean?

  • chris
  • james overholt

    What a horrible, horrible idea. I urge the student community to boycott this event.

  • HP Fan

    This is the reason WashU will never crack the Top 10. And why Hermione Granger picked Brown over WashU. I hope you are happy SU

    • Anon

      Except for the fact that WashU HAS been in the Top 10 before…

  • Matt Goldwater

    This isn’t just some girl who had a kid. This is Bristol Palin, the Dancing with the Stars finalist. We need more reality star speakers.

  • jack-o

    Too funny, bring in the teen mother as a champion for abstinence-only sex education!!

    Seems like she’s the perfect argument against it, given that she apparently received this kind of education herself and still had a child out of wedlock while in her teens.

    I, on the other hand, had lots of sex in high school, and was wise enough to use a condom – thanks to the quality sex education I received in the public schools. No kids, no STD’s.

    Abstinent is not, never has been, and never will be the natural state for teenagers. It’s ok to suggest that people behave in ways which run counter to their genetic programming (reproduction IS why we’re here), just don’t expect them to act on said advice.

  • Gen

    oh great washu finally decided to get their name out there/some publicity. this is a beyond horrible decision for washu’s reputation.

  • Mia Henderson

    I’m a professional student at Wash U – and glad I don’t pay an activities fee. I’m about as liberal as they come, but I have no issue with religious groups and Missouri Right to Life speaking (though I strongly oppose the latter group’s viewpoint); its good for students to hear a range of viewpoints. I’ve hosted events with folks from Planned Parenthood – they speak for free. If the only way you can get people to attend your event is by getting someone who’s not a college student and failed at abstinence to come talk about abstinence in college, then maybe there’s a problem with your event. Seriously, undergrads, you should all be flooding the SU members’ email boxes with outrage. Not because of the topic, but because of the shameful waste of your money. Just because its not technically your tuition doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be thoughtfully spent.

  • Lexi

    Wash. U., I am ashamed. This is bullshit and I am disgusted to say that I am part of this university.

    • James

      Lexi, when you say you are disgusted you come across as arrogant and superior. Embarrassed is probably a more realistic term to use in this situation.

    • aubrey

      Then drop out

  • Mike Hunterts

    I think I am most shocked that this is a COLLEGES decision. A place of higher learning selects Bristol Palin??? If I was a student there I would be seeking a refund….

    • Washu loves a good internet fight

      They also had ron jeremy come. Not everything about college has to be educational. Also, there are outlets to voice these concerns, treasury is a public meeting. Typical WashU students only crying after the fact about mommy and daddy’s money supporting someone with different political leanings.

      • Anon

        Did Ron Jeremy come to discuss something anti-porn? No, he was probably for entertainment.
        I don’t think it has anything to do with her political leanings. It’s that she is preaching support of “abstinence only” education-the exact same time of sex education that utterly failed her. Had she received proper sex-ed it mostly likely would be a non-issue because she wouldn’t have a baby.
        And to so assume that all WashU students, a public university, are there with mommy and daddy’s money adds further stupidity to your statement.

      • Offended Student

        Not all students fit your extremely rude stereotype. Many of us have more to be concerned about this event than “crying after the fact about mommy and daddy’s money supporting someone with different political leanings.” Maybe you want all WashU’s students to fit your assumption so you can mock us, but a lot of students don’t have $20,000 to blow and are trying to defend this poor decision.

        Also, I believe booking Ron Jeremy cost about 80% less..

        • Mike Hunterts

          Actually Ron Jeremy was there to debate with someone who was anti porn. I goggled it. Also like someone above said. She is preaching exactly what she didn’t do. Pretty much making her anything but an expert. For the money they could have done alot better. Would make more sense to get a broke single mom who lives on WIC to come in and speak. Bristol won’t know a a day of hard work when it comes to taking care of her baby. She has “staff” for that kind of thing. Maybe we will all get lucky and she will be like her mother and quit in the middle of it. Being famous for getting knocked up and an attention whores daughter is pathetic.

  • alum2

    Wow, 800 comments as of now at:

    The damage has been done. Hopefully you guys can get a replacement (or a cancellation). In case you can’t, please don’t make Wash U a bigger target of public criticism by publicly doing anything stupid when Palin’s daughter visits here. You’re all under the microscope now (thanks to SU’s decision), and if you act like anything other than civilized, smart people, you’ll put Wash U on the map outside the midwest for all the wrong reasons. Don’t let Wash U go down as the research university where intellectualism failed and caveman-ish, moblike behavior reigned all because of some bs, stupid controversial decision.

  • talkaintcheap

    ATTN STEWART: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send the honorable Mr. John Oliver here to interview her

    • Ricochet

      THAT would be stellar

  • anonymous

    Getting yourself knocked up does not qualify you to speak on a panel about sexual health. Why didn’t SHAC just get one of the girls from “16 and Pregnant” or “Teen Mom 2″ to sit on the panel, it probably would have cost 1/20 as much.

    • Lexi

      Or they could just go to any Wal-Mart within a ten-mile radius and gather volunteers. Or the Galleria.

  • UGH

    So you wanted to include talk of abstinence in Sex Week? Fine. It should be included.
    But, the fact that “3,000, maybe 4,000 people haven’t engaged in sex” doesn’t meant that some of these people don’t want to be having sex, nor does it account for the variety of reasons and viewpoints that may lead to this statistic. Not everyone who isn’t having sex is waiting until marriage/basing their decisions on religious reasons. You want to include discussions of abstinence in Sex Week? Fine, but could we please get speakers with something interesting and relevant to contribute to a discussion instead of a polarizing figure who has little to contribute other than stirring up controversy?
    Also, why is this panel 75%-25% for/against abstinence?

  • Wustl Grad Student

    Yeah I’m sure the 3000-4000 students not having sex is all because they are abstinent. (rolls eyes) Who elected these fundie morons to the SHAC?

  • Matt

    So apparently the panel is Bristol Palin, the Catholic Student Center on campus, Missouri Right to Life, and Planned Parenthood. Including one dissenting voice on your panel does not make it “balanced,” Mr. Elman.

    Extremely disappointed.

  • Annie

    Since when does having a famous mother and pregnancy mean that you get to call yourself a speaker and to charge those prices???? WU, you can do better than throwing student money down this particular drain.

    • Gordon

      They’re falling into that celebrity status trap. Just because she’s been on a TV show and her mom her mom is well known. I guess the people in charge can say at some point in the future that the attendance was high during their tenure. Give a speech about her life at the beginning of the event? What is there to say that is so different from the tens of thousands of teen pregnancies?

  • L

    “‘We thought a big name like Bristol’s would help to start a dialogue,’ SHAC President Scott Elman said.”
    The main focus of dialogue that will come from bringing Bristol to campus will not be the on the positives and negatives in practicing abstinence. Instead the discussion is inevitably on the qualifications of Bristol as a speaker (Personally I believe she has none being that she can’t speak to abstinence in a college setting) and how much money Treasury handed out to bring her here. Had SHAC wanted to have a serious discussion about abstinence in a college setting, they should have sought out someone who actually represents this concept so that the conversation would revolve around the merits of abstinence. Having a dialogue for the sake of having a dialogue is a waste of the Student Activities Fee when it doesn’t revolve around actual reflection of the supposed purpose of the event.

    • LL

      THANK YOU.

  • JS

    Those of you who are Wash. U. students and are complaining about this should spend a little time thinking about where you are, why you disagree, and your own personal situation and who enabled you to be there. If any of you are ever fortunate enough to send your own child to Wash. U. you would better realize that you aren’t there on your own. Somebody had to help you pay for it.
    Grow up and listen to what she says while she is there and you can make an informed comment instead of just spewing juvenile liberal ignorant commentary…. Shouldn’t you be studying?

    • educated

      I am. Shouldn’t you be working?

    • Anon

      Why? Why should I attend something that I doubt has any educational value whatsoever? And what does me being grateful that I go to Wash U have anything to do with me being angry that Treasury wasted a lot of money on something like this?

    • SJ

      “Juvenile liberal ignorant” LoL.
      “Grow up and listen to what she says” I LoL again… To use your logic, I guess it is her who needs to grow up and listen since I am older than her. I’m 21 and she’s 20.

    • Jay

      As a consumer of my education at Wash. U., I have a right to be critical on how that money is spent. Spend time formulating your arguement, JS, before you start spewing irrelevant nonsense. You just sound ignorant.

    • elephasmaximus

      JS, You act like she’s coming to study at Wash U. If that was the case, no one would have had any issues. The problem is twofold. First, abstinence works for those who have not met THE one yet. Second, almost everyone have listened to her speak. And it’s not worth it – she should do it for free. 20,000 bucks is a lot of money. A better option would be to have her face put on one of those de-motivational posters – you know “If you sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others..”. That would help the cause along. May be.

      • james

        [email protected] palin studying at washington university.

        Did we start offering underwater basketweaving?

    • Ricochet

      I was going to reply but I didn’t know which inanity to begin with.

  • EML

    “Other educated people”? She’s not educated. By any interpretation of the word. SU needs to be replaced NOW.

  • KennethC

    Where are your editors? Bristol Palin is “educated”?

    • Matt

      Yep. She’s a proud graduate of the school of hard knock-ed up.

  • Norm Pressman

    Maybe the committee should hire Monica Lewinksy to speak about on the question of whether oral sex constitues sex. And perhaps Maybe Britol has an opinion on the subject-and since Neither Alex Rodriquez nor David Leterman are in town maybe Bristol can visit Albert Pujols.

  • Anon

    Really, 15-30k to bring a 20yo in to talk about how she couldn’t keep her legs closed? Has our society really degraded to the point where we seek the advice of a child with no real education, limited life experience because she was knocked-up and her mommy says dumber things that George Double-ya and Arnie combined we should bring her in as an expert?…Really America you are now officially dumber than the love child of Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears…you are so dumb…fo’ real

    • anon

      Let’s just get Snooki and The Situation in here while we’re at it, they know all about multiple partners, STI’s, and sexual health

  • MLS

    Bristol, I can’t dance, Palin has no credentials to support a speaking fee for any amount on Sexuality. She is riding the coat tails of her mother whose credentials are a best questionable. Rethink your decision and donate the money to a St. Louis planned parenthood organization where it would do some good.

    • chuck

      Wow…best retort !

  • mimi

    uhhh, isn’t she living with someone in arizona?

  • Shannon

    You have to be college educated to add to a dialogue now? While her family and she may be financially comfortable, to exclude her because she did not go to college is a poor argument and sounds quite classist. I hope WashU students and alumni recognize the privilege they had/have to be part of a system that affords opportunities to listen to all types of speakers, because even the most controversial offer us the chance to affirm our positions, beliefs, and morals.

    • JD

      My impression is that the people who have mentioned that she didn’t go to college nor practice abstinence (obviously at least not well) find it ridiculous that the topic she’s supposed to cover is “abstinence in a college setting”

      • anon

        Further, there are many people who are better equipped to talk about the difficulties of being a teenage mother – ones that had to sacrifice education because of the needs of their child – ones that the 20,000 would actually make a difference to. This is a travesty. I hope WashU realizes that this will cause alumni to cease donations. BP is not qualified and spending money on her is a transparent attempt at publicity – but in this case bad publicity.

    • Anon.

      I agree. What is with this “not qualified” argument? How can Bristol Palin be unqualified to – as this article puts it – share her life story? She can’t be unqualified for that. In fact, she’s most qualified for that! If we’re looking for facts and whatnot about sex in the teen and young adult population or about abstinence in general, we should look for someone “educated,” as people like to say, in that area. But, if this article is speaking the truth, that’s not what Palin is here to share…

  • Mr. Balance

    Start a dialogue? Provide balance? Where are the climate change deniers at clean energy roundtables? Creation scientists at evolutionary biology symposia? Hell, we might as well bring in some Holocaust deniers. Balance is only good when the other side has something legitimate to say. This is ridiculous.

  • Anony

    Pete, Conservatives ESPECIALLY should be calling for more educated, insightful speakers on campus!!

    • idiocracy

      WE HAVE!!! The problem is that the media only pays attention to the most fringe teabaggers they can find, ie the Palin family, Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck. Not all conservatives think the same way Glen Beck and Sarah Palin do. A lot wish they would just go away so that the republicans actually stand some chance in 2012.

  • James

    This is certainly catalyzing debate… about how stupid Wash U is.

  • Jay

    Let the Alumni Association know how you feel about this gargantuan mistake.
    Send them a message —> [email protected]

    • Anon

      this has nothing to do with the alumni association.

      • anonymous

        I beg to differ. This decision by a few current students makes a mockery of the Washington University Community — past and present.

        • Anon

          So, anytime anyone at Wash U does something we don’t like or agree with, we’re going to let the alumni association know? Brilliant.

          • elephasmaximus

            Yeah, that’s how pressure works.

  • Avi

    Elman doesn’t realize the 3 to 4 thousand students that practice abstinence on WUSTL’s campus do so involuntarily because of their social and aesthetic handicaps. Bringing Bristol to campus should have no reason to make WUSTL students less attractive…?

  • Anon.

    I think people need to relax just a little bit. You may not like the situation, and you may not like Bristol Palin, but it isn’t like Wash U invited the Jonas Brothers to come speak about promise rings! Good example, bad example, famous-for-nothing or not, Palin does have real experience with teenage sex, the potential consequences of teenage sex (i.e., pregnancy), and, apparently, abstinence. As far as I’m concerned, she’s not coming to tell us all to be abstinent, even if that is her personal choice – she’s coming to share her story. She’s coming to engage students in a conversation.

    And, yes, $20,000 is a lot of money. But, when you stop and consider that $20,000 is less than half the annual tuition of one single student, maybe, to Wash U, it isn’t that much. Maybe that’s another issue. It’s not like Wash U signed a check payable to Bristol Palin for $20,000 – you’ve got a Catholic priest and a representative from Planned Parenthood in there, too, right?

    You may not like it, and I’m not saying I like it, but the least we can do is be gracious guests to Palin and the rest of the panel come February 7. Wash U is about community, right? Then let’s show ‘em how we do.

    • james

      Just because we’ve done something misguided before doesn’t mean it is right this time around.

    • adrialexi

      Considering that they could have found a local woman who had become pregnant as a teen and then chose to abstain from further sex before marriage, yes – I consider $15-$30k an absolutely insane amount of money. In face, I will bet there is at least one actual student on campus who would fit that description and have as much to offer on the panel as Palin.

      • Anon.

        I think you’re absolutely right. If such a student matching Palin’s description, so to speak, would come forward, I think she’d bring a lot to the table! Good thought.

    • james

      The Jonas brothers would have more to offer.

  • JD

    Though I was a virgin while I attended WashU I always enjoyed Sex Week because there was so much new information and new ways to think about safety and fun when it came to sexual pleasure (however you like to get it). Why would anyone have a panel about abstinence during “Sexual Health and Responsibility Week”??? By the time you make it to college, if you want to abstain you’ve had 18 years of practice and are probably damn good at NOT having sex. What students need to learn from Sex Week is how to have a healthy and enjoyable sexual experience when they decide they’re ready for it. Just like high school students need to learn about safe sex because they will all ONE DAY have sex (and not because you’re promoting sexual activity while they’re still in high school), all college students need the chance to learn more than just the basic they got in high school (or even the chance to learn just the basics of sexual health if they were unlucky enough to go to a high school that taught abstinence!!). Having events during Sex Week that teach people about sexual health and making good safe choices isn’t ignoring or disparaging students who aren’t actively having sex, it’s giving them information for when they’re ready just like every other student…. This makes my head hurt.

  • Leroy Jenkins

    WTF, do we goto Mizzou or something, cmon

    • Candy

      Mizzou Rocks. I guess you are better because you go to Wash. U. with th ugly people.

  • utahsaloon

    “We’re not just bringing in Bristol Palin, we’re bringing her in with three or four other educated people.”
    What are you trying to say, Scott? Since we already have 3-4 educated people, we think it’s a refreshing alternative to bring in a money-hungry hypocrite who is barely educated in school or life to inform an otherwise intelligent student body.

    This is not a refreshing alternative view on sex for the WU community. What a waste of money that the Students could have placed to better people, minds and topics.

    I can’t wait for the next Alumni Fund Raising call to arrive at my house. I’ll apologize in advance to the Freshman who gets my number in their call list. Just be prepared to refer me to a director of Alumni Relations.

    • JD

      Bristol’s fee is coming out of Student Activities Fees, I feel bad for all the other speakers and events that won’t get to happen this year because of this but don’t refuse to donate because of this. Donation money doesn’t go to SU.

  • Student 3

    Hey Todd Zimmer, remember when the reason they didn’t fund 2500 for Van Jones was because they had already funded $5000 for him to do a speech in Graham Chapel the same day and didn’t find it reasonable to hold a small panel for the LAW SCHOOL in the middle of a Tuesday morning since the money Treasury uses is for UNDERGRADS?

    I can’t believe people are so upset about Bristol Palin. Like it or not, she’s the most high profile person who advocates for abstinence, and she has agreed to argue her viewpoint against people (LIKE YOU) who wish to CHALLENGE HER. If the ability to engage in a debate of this nature isn’t what this university is promoting us to do, then I don’t know why we’re here.

    • Todd

      “Student 3″,

      Are you submitting that Bristol ($20,000 knocked up 20 year old) on abstinence is more or equally worthwhile to Van Jones (proposed $7,500, Princeton fellow, Yale Law graduate, NYT bestselling author, Obama cabinet etc) on renewable energy and the St. Louis economy?

      Bristol does not merit $20,000, nor is she “the most high profile person who advocates for abstinence.” I wonder who is. Maybe Gaga?

      I will agree to argue ANY viewpoint against people who wish to challenge me in exchange for $20,000. Shoot, I’d do it for $50 (I’m cheap). But that doesn’t mean it will be worthwhile for anyone else to watch, and it doesn’t mean it’s worth the money.

      Are you seriously going to Washington University so you can “engage in debate of this nature?” OF THIS NATURE????

  • Enraged

    This woman has no qualifications to be speaking at an educational event to college students. Those responsible for this: you have completely failed your duties as student leaders. The incredible backlash should be proof enough that you acted in your own selfish, star-obsessed interest instead of that of the student body.

  • JKL

    I am a proud, and recent, Wash U alum, and have an incredibly hard time believing that 3,000-4,000 students (50-66% of the student body) have NOT engaged in sex. SHAC is a great organization on that campus, but I really question how they got that data.

    Finally, I don’t have a problem with this at all. Wash U is a very progressive, diverse, and quite liberal, campus – and the annual Sex Week really has been a celebration of the act of sex. Sue Johansson came a couple years back, as did Dr. Drew. Ron Jeremy came two years ago (hardly academic, but most speakers during this week are more academic-oriented). Even though sex week will have this event, I guarantee that the other events that week will be more celebratory of sexuality – burlesque dance classes, anal pleasure 101, female and male body objectification in the media were all recent events, and the Alternative Lifestyles Association student group puts on other events around the same time, including drag shows and Q&A sessions.

    Bringing Bristol serves as a nice counterpoint to how Sex Week is usually organized, and a counterpoint to the predominant views and practices of sex on most college campuses (except, perhaps, Bob Jones Univ).

    Bristol is being brought as a celebrity with experience in teen pregnancy and an advocate of abstinence (notwithstanding the inherent hypocrisy in this). She is not being brought in as an academic expert. It will provide some energy to this week, as well as a counterpoint that has NEVER been seeing during sex week at Wash U. This is not a POLITICAL event.

    • Anon

      If this isn’t a “political” event, why not go down to the local high school and find another unwed, teenage mother to speak? -I willing to bet they’d make better use of $15,000-$30,000 and probably have a greater need for it. -Think about that when Bristol drives away in her private limosine with her nanny.

      -Heck, you might even find an unwed, teenage mother to do it for a free meal.

      Do the world a favor Washington State and cancel this appearance.

      • anonymous

        Bristol palin didn’t ask her mom to run for VP of the United States. It’s not her fault that her mere existence has a “political” nature to it. She is coming to offer her experiences as a teen mom (one who had the unique experience of being nationally televised through her ordeal). This is not an academic or political event. Think before you speak.

        • Anonymous

          She obviously didn’t ask for it. It’s certainly not her fault. However, any fame, notoriety, and particularly speaking authority that BP now has is firmly rooted in her mother’s invective political rhetoric and the infamy it has brought to their family. Thus, by virtue of the fact that she is being prioritized as an authority over scores of teen mothers both in the local area and across the nation, it becomes a political issue. Your assertion that the posters here have not thought before speaking is laughable. Simply because someone else’s though process led to a different conclusion than your own is no reason to resort to ad hominem attack.

        • elephasmaximus

          That is the point. She is here because of her mom. Else she is another girl with a baby up in Nome Alaska or where-ever-i-could-care-less they live. And if she want so much of this nation to practice abstinence, ask for an air and hotel fare, and do it pro-bono. But hell no – she thinks this can be made into a nice business.

      • anonymous

        do the world a favor and actually realize what school you are insulting. Its really none of your business anyway

        its washington university in st. louis

        … not washington state

  • fleur

    This is embarrassing, Wash U. I’m all for controversial speakers — Alan Keys comes to mind — but at least get qualified speakers! Getting knocked up as a teenager does not make you an expert on sexuality or abstinence. Every single Wash U student is more accomplished and educated than Bristol Palin, and having her speak to such a talented student body is an intellectual affront to the audience. As an alum and former employee, I’m ashamed to have the bumper sticker on my car today. I’m no longer donating to Wash U, and many in my graduating class are saying the same. Poor, poor choice by Wash U, SAHC, and Student Union.

    • Elise

      No disrespect. But WashU as a whole didn’t decided this. The Student Health Advisory Committee and Student Union made this decision. The administration can’t interfere on this particular matter. So don’t stop helping this great school because of one mistake.

  • naomi

    Didn’t anyone recall the Phyllis Schlafly debacle a few years ago when pondering this decision? Another firestorm, but at least Schlafly got degrees from Wash U . . . she seems eminently qualified compared to Bristol, who hasn’t even graduated from college yet (if she ever does . . .). To me, it’s her utter lack of any meaningful credentials (other than being a teen mom) that is most offensive. Couldn’t they find some better educated conservatives to bring in, if balance is what was needed? If I went to Wash U, or paid for my kid to go there, I’d be furious about this. Not good for the image of the University, certainly doesn’t speak well of the thoughtfulness and care of the student reps who had this brilliant idea and approved funding it . . .

  • ha

    WashU just got teabagged

  • Student

    This money did NOT come from our tuition dollars. It came from the STUDENT ACTIVITIES FEE.

    • Fellow Student

      We also pay the student activities fee, so we’re still paying for this atrocity even if it didn’t technically come from tuition.

      • WashU is sickeningly intolerant of opposing political ideas

        Most of that money goes to student groups for free food. Why not support initiatives which will allow the whole school to benefit, thus maximizing the impact of that money? If Bill Maher was granted the 125,000$ or whatever he asked for to come here, the same liberal voices would be on here defending the decision as one which generates considerable interest.

        • elephasmaximus

          Well, Gonzales was here. We didn’t like it – but he still was the AG of this country, and as such was qualified..

  • Anonymous

    Can we get a tuition refund? Don’t pull this garbage on me and whine that WashU’s endowment money has gone down so they have to increase tuition. Seriously, Bristol Palin barely graduated high school. Maybe we should get some people from jersey shore for next year’s sex week.

    • followup

      You can’t get a tuition refund for the same reason you can’t get a tax refund because your elected representatives funded something you didn’t like.

  • Anonymous

    Politics and personal beliefs aside, I don’t really understand what Bristol Palin will bring to the Wash U campus, besides controversy and a big name. If that is what the Treasury wanted to spend its money on then that’s fine, but don’t pretend that she will add brilliant insight to the week. I can possibly legitimize her speeches and appearances if they are made to certain groups — namely very young, uneducated, perhaps unsupervised teenagers like she was when she became pregnant. However, the Wash U campus is a far cry from her demographic.

    And as an alum, congrats Treasury, you have made me think twice about where my donations should go.

    • JD

      If you donate money to the University then SU doesn’t get to control it, SU only controls Student Activities Fees. I don’t think I’d ever donate money directly to SU but I would recommend donating money directly to student groups who put on events that you enjoyed in the passed.

  • Ananonymous

    @Pete People are not unhappy about the speaker. It’s about the imprudent decision SU made to invite Bristol, a teenager mother who never attends college, to talk about college abstinence.

  • Rachel Wisdom

    “’One concern I do have is when we do fund someone like Bristol Palin, is what really are we supporting. And to me it’s someone who is famous because they got pregnant at 18,’ said freshman Jacob Trunsky, chair of the Budget Committee.”

    VERY true, Jacob. I am thrilled Wash U is going to talk about abstinence during Sex Week – never thought I’d see that happen – but this is not the way to go about it. Surely we could find someone better to talk about abstinence than a girl who got pregnant in high school and used it as her ticket to stardom. How about, I don’t know, a virgin? There’s an idea!

    Brian: It’s not that abstinence didn’t work for Bristol. Abstinence didn’t fail, Bristol just quit practicing it.

  • Student Union Love

    Remember when the OPEN slate ran on the platform of bringing large speakers to campus?

    “Wouldn’t it be awesome to have Michelle Obama come to campus?!” -Morgan DeBaun (Exec Election Debates)

    Well, I guess we are settling for Bristol Palin instead. Thanks OPEN slate!

    • Subway Boy

      Dear “Student Union Love”,

      I love you. Continuing doing what you do.

      – Anonymous

  • John G.

    I don’t even have to say anything. I think the student body is pissed enough as it is. Just remember to vote these guys out of office, and not go to this worthless event. I wish I could be there to protest, but I’m abroad. I hope you guys will get the voice out.

  • Karen M

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!! (breathe)
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

    Be sure to ask Bristol about her two cute kids.

  • B

    I’m a totally ashamed alum. Having a baby as a teenager and having a famous mom does NOT make you an authority on sexual health and responsibility. Moreover, how does she possibly posses the substance to speak at a top 20 research university when she herself isn’t even enrolled in college? I’d like to quote a Huffington Post reader–yeah, SU, you’re stupidity has made a national online publication–thanks for that boost:”Is she going to tell students that is okay to be a teenage parent and that it brings fame and money? Since her case is the exception not the norm, shouldn’t those students hear from other ambitious and talented young people to motivate them to do great things?”

    SMH…This is a dark spot, for sure.

  • Jay

    SU, I’d like to appeal for 20k to put in a large blender.

  • Pete

    I can’t believe people are so offended by this. What’s wrong with having high-profile controversial speakers? Universities do that all the time. Since when do we have to like or agree with everyone who speaks on campus? Just because Wash U has an extreme liberal bias doesn’t mean we should never have conservative speakers…

    • Alex

      Nothing’s wrong with high-profile controversial speakers. It’s the lack of credentials that’s the problem.

    • Caleb Posner

      Pete, the issue isn’t that she’s “conservative.” I, and several others at WashU bothered by her invitation to speak are too. The issue is that she is of limited intelligence and authority, trading only on celebrity, and does so with an unjustifiably high price tag. Dan Savage cost half as much when he spoke last here, and he was actually qualified. Annie Sprinkle and Tristan Taormino were, despite having multiple events each, also much cheaper and better qualified.

  • Outraged Senior

    Chancellor Wrighton should intervene and repeal this decision immediately. As a soon to be alumnus, I too will hesitate to send the University any money in the future if they will so recklessly waste it like this.

    20k is real money. And it’s a lot of money. 7 or 8 people shouldn’t have this type of authority to approve spending like this. They need a check and balance from a mature voice.

    I am embarrassed that my parents called me this morning and asked why they help pay my tuition if it goes to stuff like this. 20k can fund research, provide jobs, etc. This is outrageous.

    Treasury needs to get out of its bubble.

    • Anon

      Yes, I’d like the chancellor to intervene on all the things I don’t agree with too! More tater tots! Let me smoke again! Better acts at WILD!

      As a senior, I’d think you’d have a little more clue how these things work. This isn’t “the university,” this is Student Union and your student activity fee making these decisions. And you do have a voice in the matter, it’s called Student Union elections. You’re right, $20K is real money. So is the hundreds of thousands of dollars Team 31 spends on WILD every year. Talk about a waste…just like in the real world, we don’t always agree with how Congress spends our tax dollars.

      I’m embarrassed your going to be a Wash U grad and clearly a clueless member of society. Why don’t you get out of your bubble?

      • JD

        I don’t think Chancellor Wrighton should step in to make changes to the way SU spends the student activities fees because the school controls who tuition is spent and SU controls how student activities fees are spent. When you have school administrators putting their hand in sex week events you get an even more embarrassing shit storm like what happened this year at OSU. So, outraged senior, you can tell your parents that your entire tuition didn’t go towards this, only the student activities fee. Don’t be upset because this money could have gone towards jobs and research (because that’s not what the student activities fees are for), be upset because this is the only time of the year when the school really promotes sexual health and instead of bringing a real expert SHAC used their big chance to bring Bristol Palin. They could have brought a really great speaker who would have actually contributed to meaningful discussion about sexual health and responsibility on campus and still saved SU $10-15,000 to spend on other, better speakers throughout the year.

        That said, there are lots of other great sex week events going on this year not mentioned in this article which cost a reasonable amount of money to put on and will hopefully be more in the spirit of sex week.

  • Really?

    This sentence is a minefield:

    “The week, which seeks to … encourage students to experiment with sexual viewpoints that differ from their own ”

    Maybe understand? Think about? Discuss? Experiment sounds like there’s a room off to the side if you’ve never tried doggy-style with a midget of the same sex.

    • Scott

      What, you haven’t?

  • Todd Zimmer

    What an appalling, idiotic and wasteful expense. Shame on SU Treasury. Clearly this kids have no concept for how much $20,000 IS, and have proven themselves completely incapable of being trusted with any money.

    I am incredulous that this group could have sunk to this low of an imbecilic attempt to “start a dialogue.” Please throw these bums out of Treasury. They have no idea of what their job is and what the difference between entertainment, TV and meaningful, intelligent discussion.

    Anybody remember when they wouldn’t spend $2,500 for a Princeton fellow and Energy Policy adviser to the Obama administration?

    Pathetic. What a sham. Wash. U students have been had.

  • Brian

    What could she possibly have to say about abstinence? It obviously didn’t work for her.

    • Karen M

      oh, but she got revirginized, dontcha know?! *wink*

  • David

    Good, I’ve been meaning to learn how to not use a condom…

    But seriously, things like this make me ashamed to be an alumnus. This is worse than when the university paid good money to bring Alberto Gonzales.

  • Scott

    Who suggested this to SHAC? This is worse than the time I sarcastically said to a Team 31 exec “Hey, you know who’d be cool? George Clinton!”

  • John

    I cannot believe this. There should be some way for students to overturn this decision. To those treasury members who voted yes, you should be ashamed of yourselves. My objection is not on political grounds, it is on the grounds that she is a worthless speaker. She is being used as a ploy to attract people to Sex Week activities. I am still speechless.

  • Anon

    It is sad that our university succumbs to dropping $20,000 in order to “help start a dialogue” and “fill seats.” I thought we were a leading academic institution, but judging by the results, we are more interested in quantity at the expense of quality.

  • Anonymous

    Voted Yes:
    Jeff Lin
    Jack Sun
    Daniel Bernard
    Greg (not specified)
    Chantel Miller
    Paul Blachar

    Voted “yeah”
    Jason Chang

    • WashUleaks

      NICE way to rat them out dawg

  • Anon

    I have little interest in being part of a “dialogue” that requires a gimmick to attract attention.

    • Karen M

      Much less a “gimmick” who has been pregnant at least twice already.

  • Peter

    I would just like to salute the one person on Treasury who did not vote “yes”, “no”, or even abstain (or does “ab” stand for absent? So unclear). Instead, they voted “yeah”. Seriously:

    • Peter

      By the way, to those members of Treasury who may feel it unfair that some people oppose their re-election because they voted “yes” on this issue… IT’S CALLED DEMOCRACY. WELCOME. You piss off your constituents, you lose.

  • John

    Has anyone considered that some students want to go to this event… I’m going!

    • Anon

      So is the 400 pound girl in your English class, maybe you two could “hook up”.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to express my extreme disappointment in Student Union and the Treasury. Foremost, I would have expected Student Union to have sent notice to the students about the vote especially about something so controversial. Voting on something this controversial and not notifying students is an enormous failure by members of SU.

    Avoiding comments about the specifics of her message, what has she done that makes her a leading figure on abstinence? Shouldn’t we bring experts to speak to us? Second, what kind of message are we sending to teenagers around the world? Are we glamorizing teenage pregnancy? Hasn’t Treasury heard of the 17 girls who made a pregnancy pact in Gloucester high? Some people blame this on the many shows following the lives of teenage moms like “I’m pregnant and…” and “Teen Mom”. Imagine what kind of message paying $20,000 dollars to someone who essentially only got famous because of her pregnancy will send. Obviously, the pregnancy pact is an extreme case but it is not a large stretch of the imagination for some teenagers to draw the same conclusion. We are REWARDING the person professing abstinence who hasn’t practiced abstinence herself. With this large sum of money, I also question her motives. If she really believed in spreading the message of abstinence, I do not believe she would charge such an exorbitant amount of money. It’s not a large stretch of the imagination that she is just milking her 15 minutes of fame for all it’s worth.
    Thirdly, should we ostracize half of the Wash. U. Community (according to the rough poll in this article) just to fill seats? Lastly, I would like to express my extreme disapproval of Elman’s comment – “I understand that people are not going to be happy—this will probably be protested. We really just want to start dialogue and the fact that we’re bringing in a balanced panel should be taken into account,”. Does this mean that protesters’ message won’t be listened to but just shrugged off because it was EXPECTED?

  • anonymous

    This is absurd. 20 grand could buy a speaker with real value. Anyone who voted for this will never get my vote. Bristol is an unqualified, mindless, and stupid person.

    • Anon

      … funded by our ~$2,000 increase in tuition. great…

      • so misinformed

        actually it is funded by the student activities fee, which most of us rarely see. unless you are a minority and get to eat free food on everyone else’s dime.

        • Anonymous

          So I guess it’s funded by the 5% increase in our Undergraduate Activity fee. (Also, he/she’s just being sarcastic – good job). and what do you mean by “which most of us rarely see”? I just saw it on my $54,000 bill.

          • Washu loves a good internet fight

            I figured that out buddy, I was addressing the majority of people who hadn’t figured that out. Most of us rarely see refers to paying the 500 bucks and never seeing it again. Pretty simple. I can’t believe people are more upset about this than the other ridiculous sums of money given to speakers no one goes to see.

  • …Fail

    We could have funded $20,000 worth of condoms and morning after pills for the state of alaska…Problem solved!

  • Cato

    For anyone interested, see the meeting minutes and vote tally for this resolution at:

  • Devil’s Advocate General

    Gotta admit, my first thought when seeing this article was, “Huh. It’s kinda early for the April Fools issue, isn’t it?”

  • Anonymous

    A speech followed by a Q & A and a reception. I think Bristol is a class A moron and abuses her “fame.” But now at least I’ll be able to tell her to her face. I’m glad I go to a university in which the student body doesn’t consist of a bunch of complacent and homogenous fools and I hope people can see that they can now have the opportunity to direct their passionate opinions straight to Palin herself.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, she’ll still have $20,000 dollars of your tuition money.

      • Anonymous

        She’ll have a portion of my student activities fee, yes. This event isn’t costing all students $20,000 of their personal tuition contribution, so it’s unfair to keep making that generalization. If ~700 people go see this event which costs $20K, then it comes down to less than $30/person. It costs $30 a ticket to see Ke$ha at The Pageant. If Bristol Palin really makes your blood boil, go confront her regarding the reasons why.

        • Anonymous

          One, I was not saying it was necessarily a person’s own tuition money but I can see it this way with the countless having to deal with student debt after college. Secondly, she probably expects these kinds of comments (from doing this countless times before) and $20,000 dollars is probably worth it just to listen to a bunch of people saying you are a hypocrite for a mere hour or so especially when your reputation has been trashed already. Personally, I think I would probably get about the same fulfillment out of seeing Ke$ha at the Pageant than listening Bristol Palin talk.

  • Anon

    “A 25-minute speech about Palin’s life story”? SERIOUSLY?

    • Karen M

      “okay, the first time I got pregnant I was like, having sex in my family’s own home with my parents down the hall!”

  • Kevin L.

    Wait, so the decision was partly to combat the perceived liberalness of Sex week, so you decided to bypass all the legitimate conservative voices and go straight to the teabagger clan?

    Also, if 33% of the undergrads (~6200) are virgins, that is definitely not “3,000, maybe 4,000 people.”

    There’s a difference between knowing someone is a virgin and knowing that they practice abstinence. Plenty of people are waiting to be in a long term relationship. It’s a fallacy to assume that all those people who are supposedly virgins want to hear an abstinence-only speaker.

    Sure it’ll bring the student body together…but only in disgust at Student Union. I guess if you want to be martyrs…

    Abstinence education has been proven not to work or even to be detrimental in multiple studies. It’s irresponsible for Treasury to bring a speaker like this just as it would be for them to invite a speaker on using coca-cola as contraception.

    If you wanted to add another dimension to Sex Week, there are a multitude of ways you could have done it and no insulted our intelligences.

  • Melanie

    I think there’s room to discuss abstinence during Sex Week, but I’m profoundly offended that SU has made Bristol Palin the central personality (and at such a cost). Hey WashU, here’s how it’s done… look at the last listing, “Toward A Sex-Positive Vision of Abstinence”

    • Karen M

      “How have contemporary discourses constructed the idea of virginity and how has that impacted the definition of sex? What are the facts and how should they inform public policy? Is there such a thing as sex-positive abstinence education? What might it look like? How can the dialogue make space for older virgins or those who have abstained from sex for secular reasons? ”

      Be sure to ask Bristol these exact questions. I would be fascinated to hear her responses.

  • Bristol Really?

    I just looked at the minutes from the meeting online…I was surprised by the way some of the people I elected voted…

  • Anonymous

    All of the above, geez. What little respect I had for the Treasury is now completely gone. I’d love to see a poll of students and see just how many actually support this decision who didn’t directly vote for it.

  • Jacob P. Marley

    I pay roughly $54,000 yearly to attend this University. I would like 37% of that money back, please. That amounts to $20,000 – the price of bringing in an uneducated mother to play the part of the hypocrite.

  • Students believe in abstinence because they’re virgins?

    I think it’s more than safe to say that a sizable portion of the “33.08 percent of Washington University undergraduates [who] identified as virgins” in last year’s StudLife survey is not because they believe in abstinence.

    SHAC – Can’t you see the obvious difference between a virgin who believes in abstaining from sex until marriage and a virgin who just hasn’t sex yet?

    • Anon

      Statistically speaking, at least 25% of the undergrad class is freshman in all colleges, and usually a larger number. -My guess is this was polled during freshman orientation when the cute girl who marked “virgin” on her app was sitting next to the guy who wanted to be the first to sleep with her.

      College educated kids get married and have kids later in life too. Give it 1-2 years and survey just the Juniors and Seniors, and tell us what *that* number is. I bet you’ll find the majority of these remaining virgins lose their virginity during their freshman and sophmore years.

  • Sean Janda

    In my opinion, the real issue with this choice is the lack of a unique and engaging perspective that Bristol Palin brings to this discussion. Obviously, people are going to be upset that a Palin was funded by Treasury, but, at least from my (liberal) perspective, that’s not really the problem. To have any educational discussion, there needs to be some tension and disagreement. What is problematic to me, however, is the particular choice of Bristol Palin to fill out this panel. First and foremost, it would appear that Treasury is paying merely for the Palin name, as opposed to for the discourse that her insights could spark. Ms. Palin has done no scholarly research on the topic, and, in fact, neither practiced abstinence nor attended college. In fact, I am sure that Treasury (and SHAC) could have found innumerable individuals that bring the exact same perspective to the issue that Ms. Palin does and probably many that bring a much more relevant perspective. I obviously was not at the Treasury meeting, and I have not seen the presentation or proposal surrounding this choice, but, at least on the surface, to me, the choice is very troubling. I can’t help but wonder how this affects Treasury’s ability to fund other engaging and enriching programs throughout the semester (and, in a parallel vein, exactly how engaging and enriching Ms. Palin is going to be).

    -Sean Janda

  • Anonymous

    Who okayed this?! We need a new Treasury Board… stat.

  • A Pennsylvania Farmer

    Inviting a speaker to speak on abstinence in college whose life experience speaks to a lack of both abstinence and college does indeed seem a rather prudent way to spend money…

    It seems like it would be more fun to hear someone talk about the best way to achieve multiple orgasms while jumping at Skyzone, or how to give mind blowing oral sex climbing at upper limits

    Hopefully someone from Treasury lets her know that its a bad idea to pass out at SAE or ZBT.

  • CalBear

    As a college student myself I have to say that the SHAC is sorely mistaken if they think that those 33% of students are virgins by choice. I have no doubt that the majority of said students would rather not be virgins, but have remained so due to lack of opportunity or are holding out for a decent relationship. Just because they’re virgins doesn’t mean they advocate abstinence.

  • Anonymous

    First smaller tater tot portions… now this?!?!

    • Anonymous II


  • dumbfounded

    The Palins got their asses kicked on our clearly liberal campus over 2 years ago. What makes them think they’re welcome again?

    • It’s student activities fee money, id rather it go to palin than some random club for pizza

      I really don’t think Todd Palin got his ass kicked. Also what does this post mean? I’m dumbfounded. Also a liberal campus should not exclude or be intolerant of differing viewpoints. That is what liberals constantly criticize conservatives for.

      • Brandon Maddy

        Well said.

    • William

      Liberal student fascism at work. Waist money on Van Jones who wants to destroy America and so he and his elites will be rich and control your lives with lies about global warming. You see lucky for America there are those of us 44-47 (Beck, Palin, many others) year olds that have seen everything and thought for themselves. The 60’s were about liberal fascism while some us 70’s children of those hippies called them smelly losers. We had to jack many of those child molesting drug addicts into stop molesting there daughters. We rejected the yuppy scum message “die you yuppie scum” nor did we buy into global cooling of the 70’s. We saw our fathers get laid off in overpaying union jobs while moms went top work for the first time. I personally paid rent and have not been out of a job for more than two months since the age of 14. We loved our Country and joined the Military not the reserves like today in order to get your education benefits paid for. We had the worst benefits since before WW2 (Gramm rudman bill). I personally went to school full time and worked full time and got two 4.0/4.0 at Devry. A private school that teaches skills and doesn’t give grades for hating America. This age group of latch key kids grew up poorer than any children since the great depression. My father left when I was four and there were no laws to force dads to pay child support and many of your hippy liberal hypocrite teachers also never paid any child support. We saw the destruction of the global economy under Carter with regimes being overturned this happens every time a liberal socialist gets into office causing many in the world to starve. We fear no one and it is us this little age group who will set America right and back to freedom. We have defeated all those who are against freedom and we will not back down not ever!!! We were a very diverse group that is described in the movies Dog town boys, Dazed and Confused and Remember the Titans. Yes we were the first ones to tell our hippie parents who used the “N” word all the time it was wrong. I was bussed from Markham Il. A predominantly black neighborhood into Tinley Park HS as part of the bussing program. You are buying back into segregation while we were just Americans. Trying to get through life while believing in the great American melting pot. All this age group is a pawn to the people my age group rejected. You believe anything they say.

      Its bad to see kids today with no backbone to hear another side of the story. Thats OK because this time we are educated and will keep shining the truth on both these older and younger spoiled generations. The hippies had parents who seen the worst of times, Holocaust, WW2, some the great depression and grandparents from WW1. They spoiled there kids rotten and look what happened. Now we have kids who never had a paper rout, shoveled snow, cut lawns. They live with there parents till age 30 and have one of the highest dropout rates with so much money being poured into education.. They don’t know how to think for themselves and get mesmerized with anyone using fancy words in a monotone voice. You are followers and not thinkers.. So sad – too bad. We will lead you back into freedom. I served my country once USAF 84-88. which taught us under Ronald Reagan that Communism and socialism are evil, which leads to corruption and that the poor always starves under it.

  • Anonymous

    For religious tolerance week can we have Mel Gibson?

    • Jeremy Loscheider

      Why pay for Mel when those “God hates you” creeps would gladly show up for free if invited?

  • Anonymous

    This is too absurd. I am refusing to accept this as fact.

  • anonymous

    Haha. Bristol Palin and abstinence is like Sarah Palin and honesty. Well, I’m sure the audience will be packed for the laughs. I will definitely be bringing a water bottle for a drinking game.

  • anonymous

    What does Bristol Palin know about college abstinence? As a teenage mother, she failed to abstain from sex or to attend college. I’m extremely frustrated that part of my already steep tuition is extending Bristol Palin’s fifteen minutes of fame and furthering Sarah Palin’s own ambitious political agenda. Bristol’s rise to fame as the daughter of a failed vice presidential candidate created controversy and invited mockery. Rather than investing money in someone who could speak knowledgably about the issues at hand, Wash. U. is spending money on a pseudo-celebrity who has minimal credibility. Well-educated students are aware of the transparency of the political motivations behind this tactic and are unlikely to buy into Bristol Palin’s message. This assumption that we’ll listen to what she has to say takes sexual safety, a legitimate concern, and unnecessarily politicizes the discussion and diminishes its seriousness.

    Next time, SU, don’t pay for Sex Week speakers just because they were on Dancing with the Stars.

    • TJ

      Said perfectly!

  • C

    Glad to see that Treasury shared their ideas with the Wash U community before spending our money. Aren’t they supposed to vote on this stuff in the public instead of just using our money and waiting for us to find out through studlife when it’s done.

    • Mary

      This was funded just a few hours ago. And the meeting was public.

      • james

        By letting us know through what form of communication?

  • ignatius

    Once more, I am perplexed by the obscene manner in which the inept conglomeration of political-minded halfwits which comprise SU allocate funding. $20,000 could have gone to any number of purposes which would have infinitely more value than the ramblings of this troglodytic spawn of a modern-day fascist. What degenerate philistines will occupy this event? No doubt the masses of our fine institution, for the hype surrounding this abortive affair will attract attention, which SU desires above all ethical or pedagogical concerns.

    • well, then run

      Why don’t you run for office then?

      • karl

        No. This is not a valid response.

        “I don’t really agree with the president’s policy on immigration…”
        “Why don’t you run for president then?”
        An exaggeration? Yes. But does the logic still apply? Yes.
        People shouldn’t have to be forced to run for office to get any semblance of reasonable representation.
        The muttonheads that allocate our funding are mandated to serve in the interest of the greater student body. The comments on this article alone are enough proof to show that SU not only has turned its back on this mandate, but has begun to erode the remaining ties between the students and their union.

        “We really just want to start dialogue”

        The only dialogue this is going to be starting is a dialogue about the egregious overstep on SU’s behalf. It will contribute nothing to a healthy dialogue about sexual activity. While we’re at it, let’s bring in some speakers from the Aryan Nations for Tolerance Week. After all, we want a “well-rounded” view. I bet some Klansman would love to have a… captive… audience. We can bring in some convicted wife-beaters for the Women’s Violence Awareness Week. Who knows better about violence against women than the ones leaving the bruises. I bet they could do wonders for our technique. “No, punch her just beneath the ribs: No one sees the bruise, and you don’t have to worry about wearing your knuckles out on her bones!”

        Bringing Bristol Palin to WashU is nothing short of an insult. It serves as little more than a cheap publicity stunt and a reminder of the bourgeois pigs imposing their self-important policies on us lowly proles.

  • EML

    How is this possible? Out of all the interesting and enlightening people we could have spent ____$20,000____ to bring, we decided to bring the vapid daughter of one of the most mindless political nobodies in history? What is going on, Treasury?

  • Anonymous

    1. Why is Bristol Palin talking about abstinence.

    2. Why is SU paying $20 grand for Bristol Palin to talk about abstinence..

    My mind is blown. This is a ridiculous waste of time and money.

    • J.T. the old guy

      Q: “1. Why is Bristol Palin talking about abstinence.”
      A: “Hi, I’m Bristol Palin. My life would be a trainwreck if I wasn’t famous for being famous. Here’s how to not be me.”

      Q: “2. Why is SU paying $20 grand for Bristol Palin to talk about abstinence..”
      A: “Snookie wanted $40K to discuss proper oral sex techniques.”

  • DJ

    Stupid decision. How to get invited to speak at Wash U – 1) Be born to famous pro-abstinence mother. 2) Get pregnant. 3) Appear in a public service announcement with a Jersey Shore cast member. 4) Compete in dancing with the stars. 5) Be named after the headquarters of ESPN.

  • Anonymouse

    Waste of SU $$. Way to go, Treasury, you continue to cement your reputation as completely and utterly lacking in decision-making prowess.