Republicans Are Increasingly Skeptical Of Higher Education. This Is Bad For All Of Us.
Ryan Huber
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I want to talk about the response republicans, especially those in state legislatures, are making about this concern about a liberal leanings collegiate experience. They have essentially starved the beast forcing many colleges & universities to go heavier on corporations tie-ins and alumni donations to make ends meet. I feel like they’re hoping to eventually get to the point where state universities turn into private institutions, thus focusing whatever state funding there is left to directional colleges and community colleges. These second and third tier colleges and trade schools don’t liberalise students as much as their first tier colleagues.

The problem with the response isn’t that they think this will work eventually where either a flagship institution will become more conservative or just simply abandon their begging routine before state legislatures. It does not. Similar attempts to starve public broadcasting stations in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia have met with a sense of a us versus the government bunker mentality that is happening in colleges when faced with a continuous state of financial withholding from state legislatures.

The other thing is that in general education isn’t as important as meeting the needs of their aging state population that tends to vote more often. So when faced with state budget crisis especially in states where state constitutions require that that have a balanced, non-debt load state budget, education in general (elementary, secondary, technical, and higher education) are the first places for cuts and state Medicare is often the last place for funding cuts.

I feel like if conservative state legislators are that concerned about how one sided colleges are becoming simply starving them into voluntary privatisation isn’t the solution. A lot would have to be done on the university’s end for there to be a true safe place to discuss ideas, beliefs, and biases. Unless states are willing for their flagship universities to just become private (and I think quite a few states are) trying to change behaviour and college culture through budgetary constraints won’t work.

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