Toni Morrison

It’s a slap in the face that was heard throughout all of academia. Rutgers University paid Nicole Polizzi, aka Snooki, more than it will pay Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison.

According to reported figures, Snooki received $32,000 for an hour-long comedic interview and speaking engagement yesterday, and Toni Morrison will receive $30,000 to deliver the commencement address.

University officials from Rutgers booked the literary icon Morrison to deliver a commencement speech in May to a 52,000-seat audience. According to reports, her compensation marks the first time the university has paid a commencement speaker.

On the other hand, a student-run organization, The Rutgers University Programming Association, booked Snooki to speak to 1,000 students and compensated her $32,000 to speak for an hour. Snooki spoke to two audiences of 500 students and was interviewed by Adam Ace, a comedian. The speech was dubbed “Inside the Nicole Snooki Polizzi Show,” a tongue-in-cheek play on the critically acclaimed “Inside the Actors Studio,” according to the Star Ledger.

Snooki

She conducted an impromptu beauty session — teaching a student how to wear her hair in the signature “bee-hive” — and taught the Rutgers University students her personal motto of “study hard, but party harder.” As a bonus, Snooki demonstrated the proper way to do a Jersey Shore fist pump.

According to reports, Snooki’s inspiration for life is: “Being tan, when you’re tan, you feel better about yourself.”

Morrison, 80, and Snooki, 23, are both authors. Morrison’s esteemed body of work includes “Song of Solomon,” “Beloved” and “Sula.” Snooki has penned “A Shore Thing.”

Morrison has received a B.A. in English from Howard University and M.A. in English from Cornell University. Snooki studied to become a veterinarian technician at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge, N.Y.

The editorial board of the Star Ledger states that Morrison shouldn’t be compensated at all:

“For the first time, Rutgers University will pay for a commencement speaker this year when it shells out $30,000 to hear from Toni Morrison. She is a Nobel Prize-winning author, one of the nation’s jewels, and will no doubt have something weighty to say to the graduates and their families.

But Rutgers shouldn’t be paying this kind of fee, at least not now, when the state’s public universities are all scraping to cope with big cuts in state aid.”

The editorial board did not mention Snooki’s compensation. –zondra hughes

Deputy Editor, Rolling Out