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How Ego, Greed, and Hubris (Almost) Destroyed a University: Implications for Academic Freedom

By Howard Karger


An increasing number of private nonprofit colleges are coming under financial stress due to demographic changes and other events often beyond their control, including higher operational costs. Institutions handle those problems differently, with some closing their doors, some merging, and some borrowing and depleting their endowments in hopes of a better future. To attract students, some colleges borrow heavily to remodel their campuses and develop more student-oriented amenities, such as e-sports, upscale dorms and eating facilities, and state-of-the-art gyms. While some private universities socialize their deficits widely across their operations, including administrative salaries, others place the burden squarely on the backs of faculty. Hawai‘i Pacific University offers a case example of how one nonprofit university chose to deal with its financial and enrollment problems. The absence of tenure and union representation combined with HPU’s hierarchal and corporatist management approach has led many faculty members to fear termination for myriad causes. The lack of job security has curtailed dissent and meaningful faculty governance, and it has severely restricted academic freedom.

View the entire article "How Ego, Greed, and Hubris (Almost) Destroyed a University: Implications for Academic Freedom."

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