Michigan’s Grand Rapids Community College spent $124,000 for diversity lectures and seminars with left-wing progressive thought leaders. In-state tuition at the school is $7,869, while out-of-state tuition is $11,589.
School officials defended the gesture, saying it was only made possible through "partnerships and grants for diversity programming." The Daily Wire obtained the speakers contracts from GRCC, and found out how much high-profile leftist ideologies profited from making an appearance at the school:
- Actor John Leguizamo gave a speech for GRCC’s Latino Heritage Month, in September of last year. The school paid $40,000 for that. As for what was discussed, a piece of surviving video shows it was an online interview where the moderator asked Leguizamo about his autobiography. His long history of being politically outspoken includes staging a boycott over then-candidate Donald Trump’s November 2015 SNL appearance.
- LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter received $15,000 from GRCC for a speech to bash opponents of Critical Race Theory. "People that are fighting against Critical Race Theory [CRT], they don’t even know what it is [...] the bottom line is that it’s not even included in the curriculum," The Daily Wire quotes her as saying. Black Voters Matter was one of a series of racial activist groups to receive money from the George Soros Open Society Foundation in July 2020.
- According to MLive, Nikole Hannah-Jones gave a virtual keynote speech at the school on January 31. GRCC’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion said that the focus of Hannah-Jones' talk was going to be "intersectionality." The college paid $25,000 for a speech about systemic racism. While the UNC tenure debacle was a highlight of her 2021, Hannah-Jones caught attention for calling Europe "geopolitical fiction" in response to the war in Ukraine.
- Talib Kweli cost GRCC $18,800 for his appearance earlier this month. As far as political topics go, he was in Ferguson for the 2014 riots, and talked about how COVID was a turning point of the decade. "I have class privilege and education privilege that I was born with. I have lots of privilege that I have earned too, from being a celebrity and a rapper. Just because Black men are the white men of the black community doesn’t mean we aren’t a marginalized group."
GRCC stood by the payments made for the speakers in question, when The Daily Wire asked about it.
"GRCC, and its office of diversity, equity, and inclusion, firmly believes events and training opportunities related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are instrumental in preparing students to be sought-after professionals in a global workforce that is diverse, culturally competent, and in need of rigorous critical thinkers," said a school spokesperson.
For comparison's sake, the average employee at GRCC makes an estimated $83,000 a year, according to the outlet.
The Daily Wire got reactions from spokespeople for the Young America’s Foundation and Michigan Conservative Coalition, and they both agreed on the need to bring more conservative voices to the campus.
A related investigation into Diversity Inclusion Equity (DIE) departments conducted by Fox News found that the top diversity employees at universities "earn salaries ranging from $329,000 to $430,000 – vastly eclipsing the average pay for the schools' full-time tenured professors."
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