Last week The Daily Cal (see below) published a fascinating article on the increasing industrial sponsorship of campus research. Inevitably, in this fiscal climate, the campus seeks out revenues from private donors, but who will bear the burden of infrastructural costs – costs that may outweigh the gains. Could we be reproducing “private wealth” in certain departments while the university as a whole languishes in “public squalor”? We can’t refuse a donor’s money, but how much does it really cost us, for example, to complete and maintain a new building, a new lab?
We see something like this happening with Berkeley Connect – the innovative program that offers a more nurturing experience for undergraduates while giving fellowships to graduate student mentors. When the funds from the original donor dry up, the university declares it can’t afford to keep it going. Can we afford privatization?
Chair of the BFA.