Rutgers University in New Jersey is under fire after paying Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi more money to speak to students than Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Snooki, who stars on MTV's "Jersey Shore," was paid $32,000 to speak at the Livingston Student Center on Thursday, while Morrison, who wrote "Beloved" and "Song of Solomon," was paid $30,000 to deliver next month's commencement address to Rutgers' 2011 graduating class.
Rutgers released a statement, defending their reputation by insisting that the students chose the reality TV star to speak at the university.
"We have more than 200 events on our campus during the course of the year, everything from scholarly presentations to entertainment," Rutgers spokesman Steve Manas said in a statement. "The students canvassed for who they wanted here and had the funds available."
For her appearance, Snooki did a two-hour question and answer session for approximately 1,000 co-eds. Her payment came from the student's tuition, which includes a mandatory activity fee. Snooki urged the students to "Study hard, but party harder" and told them that her ideal man would have a name that ends in a vowel.
Rutgers University also received negative press last fall, when two freshmen were arrested for bullying a gay classmate to the point of suicide.
Toni Morrison, 80, received a Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award for her 1987 novel "Beloved." In 1993, she received a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Snooki published her book, "Snooki: A Shore Thing" in 2011 and will join the cast of "Jersey Shore" in Italy for the show's fourth season.