Saturday, April 2, 2016

I'm OK With This

Profs call for nationalizing private universities
. . . two Chicago-area professors are calling for nationalizing private universities, or at minimum, that universities like U. Chicago redistribute their endowments by supporting other schools, Private universities should stop wealth-hoarding and share:
A snapshot from Chicago: In the past few weeks, as faculty and staff at Chicago State University reviewed their pink slips, and those at Northeastern Illinois University learned about mandatory furloughs amounting to 20 percent pay cuts, University of Chicago announced a $35 million gift from the founder of an investment firm to establish a “new think tank to research urban issues.” It received another $10 million dollar donation from the Pritzker family to fund “Urban Labs” that will support research addressing the “big challenges cities face.”
In fact, these donations are one of the challenges. Another is what can only be termed “wealth-hoarding” by private universities.
Our criticism of these large donations to the tax-exempt University of Chicago, which has a $7.5 billion dollar endowment, are undoubtedly sour grapes: We teach at institutions of higher education experiencing endless belt tightening and wage losses, and which, like most public colleges and universities, have no big donors on the horizon….
In this context, offering mass amounts of private wealth to already hugely wealthy private institutions is scandalous….
Our modest proposal, then, is that the University of Chicago and similarly well-endowed private institutions should share their assets with Chicago State, Northeastern Illinois and other struggling public schools….
Or, better yet, why not nationalize the private universities so that all students in Chicago, from all communities, can benefit from their excellent resources?
Research isn’t necessary to understand that sharing, not hoarding, is central to solving the “urban problems” of the day.
You will, of course, be *shocked* at the areas in which the professors teach:
Erica R. Meiners is a professor of education and gender and women’s studies at Northeastern Illinois University. Therese Quinn is an associate professor of art history and director of museum and exhibition studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Having worked for two nonprofits with large endowments, let me say that the money rarely trickles down to the students, or in our case, the research. At a bare minimum, set the rules so that they must spend that money at a rate greater than inflation, rather than continuing to hoard it like dragons on piles of gold coins. And big piles they are:

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