Letter to the editor

I am writing as chair of the Committee on Public Occasions to clarify a number of issues raised by Peter Gillette in his April 2 article on the SARK convocation: (1) It is extremely rare for Lawrence to pay “upwards of $25,000” for any single convocation speaker. While SARK’s fee must remain confidential, I can say that it did not remotely approach $25,000. Such an amount would have consumed most of our budget. (2) A student representative sits on the Committee, and plays a major role in its deliberations and choices. (3) The Committee always welcomes suggestions from students regarding convocation speakers. SARK was brought to the attention of the Committee by a student. (4) The Committee on Public Occasions seeks to invite speakers representing a variety of perspectives and experiences. Inevitably, some will resonate in different ways than others. Much lies in the eye of the beholder. We hope that convocation speakers will be appreciated in the spirit in which they are offered – as challengers, questioners, and thinkers.Sincerely,
Jerald Podair