This is the lead article on today’s Times.
This very good article helps demonstrate just how much American universities think they can get away with in their essentially business operations.
Few businesses can take advantage of a decades old brand. Few businesses have the kind of cachet that the word “university” brings.
The idea of a “University” is a powerful concept in the mind “customers”, whether those customers are what used to be called “students” (who are quite naive, another boon to a business), or are all of us, as represented by governments.
The brand, “New York University”, brings with it a moral trust in its actions, a trust that was once justified. The brand and the cachet of being called a “university” can fool the most sophisticated observer. For example, just yesterday, one of the NY Times columnists (Frank Bruni) wrote how he was
“…reminded…of the greatness of America’s universities…”
(He wrote this as he was critisizing universities. I do not think they are great at all. To see why see my post about his article.)
That such an experienced writer and columnist, along with many others, can be taken in by the word “university” without thinking hard about what the word means, and whether they still are great as universities demonstrates just how powerful the concept attached to a decades old brand name is.