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University spokeswoman Eve Hightower said the extensive fencing and extra security were standard procedure for large campus events and said the university had remained open to students going to class.

Last month, CSU Stanislaus released dozens of documents in response to California Public Records Act requests from The Associated Press and the open-government group Californians Aware.

The paperwork included e-mails documenting the university’s efforts to limit public fallout over Palin’s visit, but it did not include information about her contract. Palin has commanded fees as high as $100,000.

About 100 protesters stood outside on the campus’s leafy grounds raising up a Sarah Palin-shaped pinata and signs lettered “Spill, Baby, Spill” and “Open The Books,” and chanting about school budget cuts.

“I was expecting quite a few protests,” said Palin, who was accompanied by her daughter Willow. “It’s been nothing but absolute loveliness here in this part of California, in spite of some of the hoopla around this dinner.”

The rural university, like dozens of other public colleges, has had to cut some classes and cancel several scholarships as a result of California’s ongoing financial woes.

A group of about 30 Palin supporters from local tea party chapters also came to campus Friday afternoon, waving large American flags and carrying placards that read “Support Free Speech.”

Palin has endorsed former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive Carly Fiorina in her bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, but a Fiorina spokeswoman said Palin would not be making any stops on behalf of the campaign.

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Associated Press Writer Terry Collins in San Francisco also contributed to this report.