McCreery's critique of the university

Gary B. Palmer (gbp@NEVADA.EDU)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 12:10:17 -0700

I found John McCreery's critique of the university
terrifically interesting and I plan to reread it a few
times. Nevertheless, I still have reservations. I guess
when I called for an analysis of the university, what
I really wanted was an analysis grounded in a thorough
ethnography of at least one institution, with observations
of all levels from students through provosts and all
lines, including operations and security. The ethnography
would have to include the regents and the legislature,
and something about those who elect them as their ideas
pertain to the university. I didn't really expect to get
it the next day, maybe never, so I do appreciate John
McCreery's views.

But I don't think the solution is to create a sacred university.
Or, if we do create a sacred university, it will still be funded
by regents who are beholding to taxpayers and campaign contributers,
so the sacred university will necessarily instantiate some
capitalist core values. In my view, a better way is to work
at humanizing capitalism by making it accommodate other values,
like research without capitalist constraints, sharing resources
by means of graduated tuition based on income, better support
for liberal arts vrs. business, finance, hotel, etc. The values
of the university should be put forth at every opportunity, not
as capitalism killers, but as the higher values for a society in
which capitalism plays a part but does not dominate.

Gary B. Palmer
Department of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies (5003)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas 89154

fax: 702-895-4357, phone: 702-895-3379