Monday, September 12, 2016

After Public Colleges Suffer Many Blows, a Film Fires Back - Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Ed

The trailer to a higher-education documentary opening this week lays out its premise in stark terms: Public universities, it argues, are reeling from the effects of 35 years of underfunding, combined with a coordinated campaign by reform-minded groups to treat universities as businesses and students as customers. Starving the Beast: The Battle to Disrupt and Reform America’s Public Universities has a cast of characters that draws from some of the most bruising battles in higher education in recent years. The documentary, which debuted here this spring at the South by Southwest Film Festival, includes lengthy interviews with some of the most polarizing figures who have sought to shape the futures of the flagship campuses at the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of North Carolina. In many cases, the battles being waged reflected similar philosophical shifts.

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