Monday, August 20, 2012

Speaking of "Public" Universities Acting Like Privates...

No sooner did I pen the last blog post than I see this in the Chronicle:

U. of Oregon Courts Hard-Hitting Tactics in Persuading Students to Raise Fees for a Renovation

This student union project, of course, isn't about keeping the lights on. It's possible (even likely) that the driving motive is some administrator's ambition - the same thing that gets cities to pay hundreds of millions on sports stadiums that enrich others (*cough*Indianapolis*cough*), without asking their voters if it's OK.

Regardless, here's an example of a university administration at a "public" university acting like a private business - in this case, a foolish one. Hiring PR firms for "spin" to manipulate customers and/or employees is nothing new in the private sector. I guess Oregon's caught on now.

How they're going to argue in the future that "the university is a free marketplace of ideas" is anybody's guess. Apparently, the administration has decided to follow the political system - if corporations (since Citizens United) can talk louder with money, why shouldn't universities use their money to talk louder than their own students? Wait ... where did that money come from again?

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