David Mihalyfy argues that in order to reform higher education, America should focus on “higher ed’s pre-modern governance system, which lacks transparency and accountability and thus easily permits diversion of funds by ‘badmin’, as institutional guardians with the wrong values have been evocatively called.”
Culture oddly normalizes everything, including the legal oligarchies hijacking our universities and harming our country. The bolded terms of our schools’ civics textbooks laud our government’s system of checks-and-balances and ultimate citizen control, from division of powers and the bicameral legislature all the way through the increasing enfranchisement of Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights Act.
Our universities, however, little resemble our properly praised although sometimes frustrating form of government. Instead, university authorities are “beholden to none“, as the American Council of Trustees and Alumni declares; customarily, trustees are either self-appointing or politically appointed, and thus everyone from funders and beneficiaries to frontline mission fulfillers exert virtually no real formal control.
Nevertheless, Americans are shoveling taxpayer money into this illogical and oddly alien system of education, even as these legally formalized old boys’ clubs increasingly crank out CEO salaries and crony contracts.
Research funding not included, total state and federal subsidies per student have actually grown over the past several decades, to around a staggering $160 billion – and especially at scrutiny-resistant “private” universities, all that tax money enters a horrifying Wild West where practically anything and everything goes.
Read the entire article here.
David Mihalyfy is a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. His work has appeared in Inside Higher Ed, Jacobin, Religion Dispatches, Sightings, and the jtr bulletin, and has received coverage in the Dish and blogs of the Chronicle of Higher Education
Latest posts by David Mihalyfy (see all)
- #realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform - Feb 5, 2016
- Higher Ed’s Scrutiny Gap: Is Corruption Getting a Free Press? - Nov 16, 2015
- Reform Higher Ed? Treat Badmin Like Bankers - Sep 5, 2015