Universities and the Government

January 10, 1968

Report Outline
Influence of Government on Universities
Student Hostility to Outside Pressures
Changes in Federal Role at Universities
Special Focus

Influence of Government on Universities

What might be termed a marriage of convenience between higher education and the federal government has created problems for both that were not foreseen when the alliance was formed a quarter-century ago. Much of the current student unrest, as well as less sensational but equally serious distress among educators and scholars, can be laid in large part to changes in the academic world generated by growing government involvement with higher education. Earlier fears that federal aid would result in direct intervention have long since been allayed. But there is considerable apprehension over pervasive if unintended effects of the numerous government-sponsored programs affecting the nation's colleges and universities.

Warnings that higher education was being deflected from its primary functions have been sounded for some years. Yet steps taken in response to the warnings have not stilled the cries of alarm from the academic community and elsewhere. “The consequences of federal aid for the universities [are] substantial,” Clark Kerr, former president of the University of California, has written. “That they are subtle, slowly cumulative and gentlemanly makes them all the more potent.”

Subservience of Universities to Federal Goals

James A. Shannon, who retired last year as director of the National Institutes of Health—principal sponsor of federally aided biologic research projects—has observed that while great benefits have resulted from government support of research in the universities, “we have paid a price for progress.” One of the unfortunate consequences cited by Shannon was “the inability of the institutions that contain the scientists to determine any longer their own destiny.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Protest Movements and Counter Culture
Aug. 28, 1998  Student Activism
Jan. 04, 1991  The Growing Influence of Boycotts
Aug. 22, 1986  Student Politics 1980s Style
May 13, 1983  Christian Peace Movement
Apr. 08, 1970  Politics and Youth
Nov. 19, 1969  Challenges for The 1970s
Aug. 21, 1968  Reorganization of the Universities
Jan. 10, 1968  Universities and the Government
Jan. 03, 1968  Peace Movements in American Politics
Oct. 12, 1966  Alienated Youth
Feb. 24, 1966  Protest Movements in Time of War
May 19, 1965  Campus Unrest
Aug. 14, 1963  Mass Demonstrations
Dec. 11, 1957  Student Movements
Aug. 17, 1939  Conscientious Objection to War
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Education Policy