If we forget that Columbia shares important goals with all other organizations, including corporations—namely, growth and innovation—we limit its potential as an institution.
Is Columbia a corporation? Is it even necessarily bad if our university is a corporation?
Two years ago, the 118th Varsity Show featured the battle between Phineas (Sean Walsh, CC ’14) a noble Classics major pitted against the evil Niamh O’Brien (Rebekah Lowin, CC ’14) who was trying to implement a corporate Core. But what if he was already too late to save the University itself?
In this week’s Canon, we asked our contributors: Is Columbia a corporation?
The University as a corporation or business is a very different vision from that of the idyllic university presented in pamphlets and given by tour guides—but is it so hard to imagine? Consider an $8 billion endowment, brand-name marketing, and the sale of Columbia apparel (no, not that Columbia).
On the other hand, there is the undeniable fact of an education given and the mien of academia. Does the encouragement to ask questions like this—even of Columbia—cast aspersions on cynicism that claims corporate supremacy at our University?
But even if Columbia—as many of our contributors have concluded—is in some ways a corporation, what does that imply? Is it even necessarily bad if our university is a corporation?
To be sure, we will not have answers of finality for these questions, even in the last Canon of this semester. But, as always, we believe there is merit in our query in and of itself.
We hope you’ll invest a few minutes to consider it.
Emma Finder and Dan Garisto
Editorial Page Editors
We aren’t just the University’s investment, and we have all invested in this University, through both our time spent as students and our tuition to attend.
A business-based approach to financial growth and brand-building, though well-intentioned, has the potential to undermine student interests and academic values.
I acknowledge that by accepting Columbia’s status as a corporation, I accept my status as raw material to be shaped by professors and school administrators.