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Uncovered: ASU’s $35K Payment to DEI Demagogue Ibram X. Kendi…for 1-Hour Speech

March 19, 2024

$30,000 for a one-hour speech. And $5,000 for the one-night trip.

That’s what Arizona State University’s (ASU) College of Liberal Arts and Sciences paid the divisive “anti-racist” demagogue Ibram X. Kendi to come indoctrinate college students at the 2023 A. Wade Smith and Elsie Moore Memorial Lecture on Race Relations, public records obtained by the Goldwater Institute reveal.

Of course, Kendi is entitled to his misguided opinion that “[t]he only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” But that doesn’t mean that Arizona’s largest public university should be sending him bloated checks or foisting his discriminatory ideology onto students.

And it shouldn’t have taken nearly a year for ASU to provide this information in response to a public records request submitted by the Goldwater Institute shortly after the event last April. But it took repeated follow-ups with the university, including sending a legal demand letter, to uncover the documents revealing the university’s fat paycheck to the fallen hero of the far left.

Records finally received last month show that the university paid a $30,000 speaking fee for the one-hour “conversation” with Kendi. He also received a $5,000 “Travel Buyout” to cover his apparently extravagant travel expenses (he could spend that money however he chose). And the university also forked out an additional $4,840.99 for other event-related expenses. The most significant of those were $2,160 in radio advertising and $2,063.45 in security costs, including payments for uniformed security, plain-clothes security, and metal detectors.

While the payouts for Kendi’s grift appear to be in line with similar appearances of his at other universities, that’s no excuse for ASU’s continued deluge of cash for “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) programming. The Goldwater Institute has recently exposed its mandatory “Diversity and Civility at Cronkite” course at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. And Goldwater is suing ASU over its mandatory DEI training for faculty.

ASU so far has shown little remorse for actively subsidizing Kendi’s call for racially discriminatory DEI-based policies, offering a glowing review of the event on its news site, boasting that the event “drew such a large crowd it prompted a last-minute venue change.” (ASU told Goldwater in response to its records request that 550 individuals attended the lecture, including students, staff, and members of the public.)

And rather than contemplate how Kendi’s ideas fall within the traditional definition of racism—discrimination on the basis of race—the article highlighted Kendi’s definition: “a powerful collection of policies leading to injustice and are substantiated by ideas of racial hierarchy.”

Talk about word salad.

In the months that passed between the event and ASU finally producing the requested records, Kendi’s finances have come under additional scrutiny. Last fall, Kendi’s Boston University Center for Antiracist Research laid off at least 15 staff members due to financial mismanagement. But Kendi himself does not appear to be in personal financial straits, as he has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees alone over the past few years, in addition to his salary and book deals. (If you have a racist baby, don’t worry, Kendi has you covered!) And Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau continues to promote Kendi for speaking engagements despite his diminished role in academia and the far-left movement.

Universities everywhere should think twice before expending precious tuition dollars—or worse, taxpayer dollars—on radical DEI programming. The Goldwater Institute will continue to expose and root out this discriminatory teaching wherever it is found.

Click here to read more about Goldwater’s efforts to stop radical DEI efforts at ASU.

Parker Jackson is a Staff Attorney at the Goldwater Institute.



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