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Bringing Clinton to UB series was well worth the money

I am writing to comment on speculation over whether financial support for Hillary Clinton’s speech at the University at Buffalo was an appropriate use of student activity fee funding at the university.

As last year’s president of the UB Student Association, I was proud to authorize our sponsorship of the 2013-2014 Distinguished Speaker Series, which included Hillary Clinton, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, David Blaine and several others. While the Student Association’s support is the largest student contribution towards the series, it represents less than 5 percent of the organization’s annual budget and gives thousands of undergraduate students free tickets.

Since the series’ conception, the Student Association’s sponsorship has funded and given students access to some of the most influential individuals in modern society, including world leaders, dignitaries, U.S. politicians from both sides of the aisle and world-class entertainers. The decision to contribute to this longstanding university tradition is wholly and entirely that of the students.

I personally hope that the Student Association continues to fund the speaker series for many years to come. The value of the student body’s sponsorship, both monetarily and intellectually, cannot be overstated. It generates the kind of excitement and thought-provoking discussion that makes a campus and a community great.

Sam McMahon

Boston, Mass.