The Campus and its Critics
Is it wrong to find something curious in the current hatred directed toward universities and colleges? After all, there was a time, not long ago, when places of higher education were relatively immune from strong feelings of any kind. Among those who never went to college there was a little envy, some longing; a large indifference. Those who did go felt some nostalgia, some possessiveness; sometimes, gratitude. Those who stayed as teachers felt lucky or isolated or underprivileged. In the culture as a whole, respect for the mysteries of learning was mixed with condescension from the abstraction from real life and for the general mendicancy. The sense was that college and universities were different from everything else: a little better or a little less real; higher up, or off to one side; part of society, but not all of it, symbolically or in any other way.