Motley, Mongrel, and Growing: The University in America
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To understand the political dynamics of any given university campus, it is important to understand the growth of the university as an institution. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries we find the origins of the university as we know it, with faculty, courses, exams, and degrees. This initial form of the university faced remarkable changes in the centuries that followed, as the power of the clergy slowly gave way to secular interests and control. The most substantial change, however, took shape in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as scientific inquiry, academic research, and government interests fundamentally changed the institution. As the university grew larger and more bureaucratic, its “parental” role came into question when the distinctions between community (“town”) and campus (“gown”) became less easy to define. Moreover, as universities became more vital to the state, the role of politics and the right to speak became issues of greater sensitivity. Town-gown relations, state politics, and faculty rights and responsibilities are crucial touchstones for understanding the University of Nevada and its campus troubles.
KeywordsAcademic Freedom American High Education Black Panther Party Racial Violence Desert Research Institute
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