Rutgers will not be reimbursed $5K for Lisa Daftari's canceled free speech lecture
Rutgers will not be reimbursed the $5,000 it agreed to pay Lisa Daftari, investigative journalist and editor-in-chief at the Foreign Desk News, prior to the cancellation of her speech earlier this month.
According to a copy of the service agreement between the University and Daftari, the service provider F2FMedia — the agency that represented Daftari’s speech at Rutgers — was allotted $5,000 for the fulfillment of services, this includes a guest lecture discussing radicalism on college campuses and her journey from Rutgers student to where she is today.
Rutgers Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA) issued payment for the event on July 30.
The University could terminate the contract with a written notice at any point within 15 days of the Oct. 16 event. If Rutgers terminated the agreement without cause, it would pay F2F Media for its services through the date of termination, per the agreement’s specifications.
Rutgers indefinitely postponed the event earlier this month — three days before it was scheduled to occur — after a student petition urging the University to cancel the event surfaced, according to The Daily Targum.
University Spokesperson Neal Buccino confirmed that Daftari was paid $5,000 by Rutgers, according to an email to The Targum.
This money is from a privately endowed lecture fund, according to New Jersey 101.5. This was a concern among students in favor of the petition that claimed Daftari is an Islamophobe and did not want their term bill funding the speech, according to the petition.
Before the event was postponed, UAA stood by its invitation, citing the goal of its “Speaker Series” is to engage students in tough conversations and create an environment that allows for discussions that promote understanding of opposing views, according to The Targum.
“If these issues are not brought to the forefront and given a chance to be debated, then they may continue to stay buried,” said Vice Chancellor Ben Sifuentes-Jauregui at the time. “Bringing a professional to campus who can help us speak interest on the topic and call attention to a particular issue is important.”
Four days later, Rutgers announced the event was indefinitely postponed.
At the time, Buccino said, “Rutgers University has decided to postpone the lecture by Daftari, scheduled for October 16. The University will continue to go forward to events that reflect a wide variety of perspectives."
This prompted a separate student petition asking Daftari be allowed to speak on campus.
Shortly after, Rutgers apologized for the confusion surrounding the event’s postponement and asked Daftari to return to campus on one of four days: Wednesday, Nov. 14, Monday, Nov. 19, Monday, Nov. 26 or Wednesday, Nov. 28, according to The Targum.
Daftari declined the University’s offer to reschedule.
“Let’s be clear — this was not a 'postponement' — that is public relations talk for a cowardly cancellation. (Rutgers) told me the event was canceled,” Daftari said in a tweet at the time.
The agreement between Daftari and Rutgers outlines milestones of Daftari’s appearance, including a lecture with the Rutgers community and guests, a question and answer period after the formal discussion and a dinner reception as a VIP guest of UAA and upper administration.
Daftari was set to discuss “Radicalism on College Campuses” as it applies to polarizing or extreme views, according to Rutgers Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA), with the deliverable outcome of an “engaging and information lecture with questions and answers delivered by Daftari to the RU community,” according to the agreement.