Published April 10, 2011
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- A group of students at Rutgers University is campaigning to bring New Jersey-based rocker Bruce Springsteen to the school to combat the public relations damage done by a question-and-answer session with "Jersey Shore" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, the Asbury Park Press reported Sunday.
The reality star was paid $32,000 -- $2,000 more than the payment Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison will receive when she delivers Rutgers' commencement address -- to offer students advice such as "Study hard, but party harder" and "When you're tan, you feel better about yourself."
Now, some students at Rutgers launched a Facebook campaign titled "College Ave Freeze Out: Let's Bring the Boss to Rutgers!" to bring Springsteen to the school for a musical performance or a Q&A session similar to Snooki's.
''We're a smart institution. We've produced Nobel Prize winners. We have a great reputation," said freshman Daniel Oliveto, who launched the campaign on April 2. "I wouldn't want to see it burned to the ground by Snooki or anyone else."
Springsteen's music, the group's Facebook page says, "embodies the honest, working individual of which our state and our university are comprised. His music communicates lyrics that transcend societal bounds, much like our student population."
Oliveto said bringing The Boss to Rutgers would help counteract other bad publicity the school received from incidents such as the suicide of student Tyler Clementi, who killed himself after classmates posted a webcam broadcast of his sexual encounter with another man, and the alleged beating of two students by Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office investigators.
"It's almost as if the [television crews] come to campus rolling and interviewing students every time something negative happens," he said.
The campaign is asking that Springsteen appear for free. Springsteen's publicist did not reply to the Asbury Park Press' request for a comment.
"We understand that Nicole may not be for everybody," said Snooki spokesman Scott Talarico. "And Bruce Springsteen may not be for everybody. Entertainment is subjective."
Rutgers parents fumed that Snooki was paid nearly $10,000 more than the $23,466 they have to pay annually in tuition fees and housing to send their kids to the school.
"I don't think she's a good representation of a role model for my kids," Christine Getz, 47, a part-time preschool teacher who has a son and daughter at Rutgers, told the New York Post.