Foster's Daily Democrat: UNH releases cost of conference on sex workers
DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire has revealed the cost of a mini-conference on sex workers to media, but has not yet responded to a Right to Know request filed by Americans for Prosperity.
Earlier this week, AFP requested the cost of the conference. They are expected to receive documentation on it by Monday, May 6.
According to UNH Media Relations Director Erika Mantz, the event cost $2,246.40, but AFP state director Greg Moore said because he has not received a response to his Right to Know request, he cannot speak to its accuracy.
Mantz said in a public statement that $1,085.40 of the total cost of the event came out of an endowment fund (dollars raised through private fundraising) and the rest came from student organizations’ budgets.
Mantz said students were the “main organizers” of this event.
Moore originally took issue with the conference saying that the costs were inappropriate considering the University System had asked the Senate Finance Committee for an additional $12 million in taxpayer subsidies.
“At the same time, they indicated that the system had gone to great lengths to reduce all unnecessary expenditures,” Moore said in a public statement. “That’s why we think it’s critical to find out just how much money UNH spent on this conference, so that state policymakers can decide if there is more fat to trim from the System budget that can save taxpayers from any additional burden.”
Moore does not believe conferences such as this one hosted by the university earlier this month are essential to the mission of the school.
“It just seems like some priorities have been misplaced,” Moore said.
Mantz said her statement that, “State dollars were wasted as a result of university employees being diverted from their work to respond to a politically motivated right to know request.”
Moore responded to this statement saying, “It is both outrageous and tragic that UNH believes that complying with state law that ensures transparency and accountability in government agencies is somehow a burden.”
The mini-conference spanned throughout the day on Tuesday, April 16, starting with a documentary and ending with a 7 p.m. panel discussion on the rights of sex workers.
Although Moore would not say it was the topic of this conference that motivated him to file the Right to Know request, he did say the university systems should be asking before spending on “these type of conferences.”
“It’s got everything to do with the priorities of UNH,” Moore said. “If you see that type of thing happening at UNH, you have to ask yourself: ‘Is that the best way of (spending) resources and the best way to keep tuition in place for our students and the best way to keep taxpayer subsidies as limited as possible?’”
Americans for Prosperity is a grass-roots movement of more than 2.3 million activists nationwide who advocate and promote limited government, lower taxes, and more freedom. There are more than 29,000 activists across New Hampshire.