A humorous Southeastern University video that ends in an offer of scholarships to YouTube star “Chewbacca Mom” and her family has gotten the university national news coverage  but has generated controversy on campus.

The SEU video has been viewed nearly 15,000 times on YouTube and liked by more than 1, 2oo on Facebook, and has been covered by Time, ABC, Fox News, Mashable, Mirror and others.

YouTube Poster

The video ends with SEU President Kent Ingle offering full-tuition scholarships to “Chewbacca Mom” Candace Payne, her husband and two young children for “bringing joy and laughter and great inspiration to a lot of people around the world.”

At home, reactions are mixed. The Christian university’s Facebook post presenting the video has received numerous positive comments from students and alumni.

But they’re mixed with responses from others who view the video as a publicity stunt or say it reflects a poor choice of priorities at a time when some programs are being cut and others have lost scholarships.

Click the Facebook logo above or this link to read the comments.

Those supporting the university on Facebook point out that the critics, as Christians, should rejoice in the good fortune of Payne and her family. Alumna Barbarah Pertullah said scholarships are gifts from generous donors that have grown substantially in recent years and they don’t take away from academic programs.

SEU student August Schmidt told Fox 13 News he has mixed feelings. “I have student loan debt. I have two jobs, a family and a kid, but honestly, it’s a gift to them. They should take it,” he said.

One SEU alum said on his blog that he’s proud of his alma mater but the video is one of the reasons he thinks the university is promoting style over substance. “I do not want my Alma Mater to be an Internet meme. I do not want to see a selfie representing “Who We Are” on one of the main pages of SEU’s website,” Stephen Robles wrote.

On Twitter this morning, the university reminded followers that honor students get scholarships of $15,000 per year and linked to a list of other scholarships and grants.

Honors students receive a $15,000 scholarship per year at SEU. Check out all our scholarships here –

— Southeastern (@seuniversity) June 2, 2016

In case you’re not among the million-plus people who have watched the original Chewbacca Mom video (I was in that category until this morning), here it is:

YouTube Poster

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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