By David Bischoff

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Despite the claim that university life involves “academic enclosure,” the Research One school has long been “a vast economic enterprise” (Maniquis 1983: 135). Ties between capital and scholarship have grown ever closer and more questionable. S. 25 billion a decade later. This development derived from the extraordinary Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which permits nonprofit educational institutions to own and commercialize inventions, provided the state can use them as it sees fit and scholars do not hold patents derived from federally financed research.

So, we have this core problem: Who is going to pay the salary of the English department? We have to have it. Who’s going to pay it in sociology, in the humanities? And that’s where we’re running into trouble” (“College Tuition Hike” 2009). A pity there aren’t more sick people, really. Perhaps we could attract them to emergency rooms by offering readings of Gloria Anzaldúa or Joseph Conrad and then ask hospitals for a capitation fee based on the uplifting qualities of literature. So what are universities for?

Forgiven. Poor athletic facilities? Sorted (a promise of $2 million for capital improvements). Untenured junior faculty? Supported. It was magic, provided by unnamed benefactors. What an absurd moment—but as Socratic folks like to say, a teachable one. It cloaked the horrors of a system that puts children of the working class into generational debt and wastes millions of dollars on anti-educational sports programs. The cloak was one-off charity, made available to those lucky enough to be subject to childish deceit by a media corporation and a public servant.

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