The Crisis of the Public University

Professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley, offers her opinion on the future of public higher education in The Chronicle of Higher Education Review. Scheper-Hughes writes in response to the violent reaction by police to faculty and students observing a general strike in November. She writes that the university is facing a crisis not about faculty pay or conditions, but instead facing a crisis about “the failed promise of reasonably attainable higher education.”

The current crisis is fundamentally about privatization and the dismantling of a national public treasure. The students and professors who were whacked by billy clubs want to preserve a grand public university that took a century to build to its present pre-eminence and is taking just a few years to destroy.

Read the story and let us know what you think. Could such a crisis happen at UW-Madison? Are we already in a crisis?