Saturday, April 12, 2008

Buying Curricula

Ever thought that colleges were missing a fundamental text or course when you looked at what they taught? Ever tried to convince them to add your pet project? Well, here's some advice: donate a million dollars and try again.

This piece (hat tip: Paul Krugman) discusses the recent actions of a charitable arm of BB&T banking corp. I don't know the full story, but is sounds like they essentially exchanged considerable amounts of money for promises from various colleges to teach Ayn Rand books. Maybe I have too much faith in humanity, but I have a hard time believing that it could be this simple. How could any college possibly justify such an outlandishly egregious breach of ethics?

The article says that colleges have started tailoring grant requests to the organization by mentioning Ayn Rand, so it hardly seems that this is one evil corporation trying to influence some financially-strapped colleges. Is this really where the fundraising race will lead -- colleges putting their curricula up for sale?

1 comment:

Chad Lykins said...

My favorite part about being a philosopher is having the occassional person say, "Oh, I love philosophy. I remember reading Ayn Rand in college."

There is an organization devoted to her. They have $10,000 scholarships to students who write essays about the virtue of selfishness, etc. No one in academia (either in English, Philosophy, or Economics) takes her seriousely.