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The taxpayer noose is tightening on kooky universities: op-ed

Major higher education budget cuts in North Dakota and Alaska are likely a harbinger of things to come as taxpayers and lawmakers finally get fed up with campus insanity.

Writing in USA Today, University of Tennessee law Professor Glenn Reynolds points out that “it’s not a shock that taxpayers think their money might be better spent elsewhere than on subsidizing enclaves of insanity. It’s especially true when universities spend so much of their time attacking so many of the Americans who pay taxes to support them, from Trump voters, to Christians, to gun owners and businesspeople. It takes a lot of chutzpah to slap someone in the face and then put your hand out for money, but that’s what universities have been doing for decades and with special force over the past few years.”

He goes on to note:

Years ago, in “The Higher Education Bubble,” I warned that universities were going to be squeezed by online competition, changing job markets and fears of excessive student loan debt. To survive, I said, they’d have to be leaner and more focused on what people actually want from universities, instead of the things that were popular mostly with university administrators. These warnings were largely unheeded.

So am I blaming the victims for these budget cuts? Basically, yes, with the proviso that the victims are also perpetrators. For decades, higher education has, often quite consciously and openly, set itself against the larger society in which it is embedded while still expecting support, much like a rebellious adolescent who still expects parents to cover the cellphone bill. Now much of the larger society is having second thoughts, and universities will have to decide whether they want to change or shrink. Sadly, I’m beginning to doubt that they’re smart enough to change.

Read the full column at USA Today.

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