"A university’s essential character is that
of being a center of free inquiry and criticism --
a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else."
Richard Hofstadter
(1916-1970) American historian, professor
Commencement Address, Columbia University, 1968.
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Reader comments about this quote:
oops, that ain't hapnin anymore
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Yes, and politics and religion should stay out of it, though its debate should stay in. Political and religious debate is healthy but a University's position should never take sides.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    It SHOULD be the center of free inquiry and criticism. Unfortunately, those who speak freely on unpopular issues tend to get fired. Firing those with unpopular views demonstrates the inaccuracy of this statement.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
     -- Anonymous      
    The sentiments of this quote need drastically to be revived... Students and faculty need to be proactive in bringing this about.... It must be achieved from within.....
     -- Robert, St. Emilion, France     
    Joe of Rochester, MI: then there are those who have "tenure," which means regardless of how wild the precepts they teach, they CANNOT be fired. The phrase is "free inquiry," not dogma taught by those who feel they are the cognoscenti.
     -- Bob, Charlotte, VT     
    Wouldn't it be more effective for a University to be noncompetitive and more cooperative in its arrangement? Does not competition retard maturation?
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
  • 1
    Universities that depend on federal subsidy have become indoctrination camps for Marxism.  US History is not even a requirement any more to graduate.  Pupils are accepted based upon race rather than merit, driving the overall quality down.  It is the purposeful dumbing-down of America.  Students demanding (and getting) segregated dorms, classes, graduation ceremonies have completely turned it all upside down.

    Discrimination against 'colored people' was a crime, now granting special privileges to 'people of color' is the norm. 

    Black privilege has been the policy for decades.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    Sillik, the answers to your questions is/are an emphatic NO ! ! !  Competition between universities, fine tunes perspectives and financing  bringing together the finest minds and talents on anyone subject matter (without competition the mind and talents are lost to the herd mentality's mundane). It is the LACK of competition that retards maturation! 
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    Exactly.  Competition, like in sports and debate, sharpens one's skills.  Without competition, there is no debate and no mastery or excellence.  Which is the primary fault with socialism, no one may dissent from the 'experts' no matter how unqualified they are.

    What makes someone an expert? MERIT!  The best driver, runner, scientist is determined by their accomplishments.  You don't take advice from losers, sorry, there is no nice way to put it.  No one starts out in first place, they have to train and compete for the position.  May the best person win.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    When I was in business, my mind set was to offer the very highest quality, most versatile, durable  longest lasting and easiest to use. The best, always has a niche and you don't have to make excuses for it. My competition was continually coming up with stuff I had not personally considered. It was not just enough for me to one-up the particular trait but, I felt driven to make the best that I could. The added traits and versatility never hurt business and always made a better product for my customers. There is always going to be a market for cheaper while, it was competition that helped me be the best.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
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