Depression, Recovery and Higher Education: A Report by Committee Y of the American Association of University Professors. The Draft of This Report Was Prepared by Malcolm M. Willey

By Malcolm M. Willey; American Association of University Professors | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
PUBLIC PRESSURES AND HIGHER EDUCATION

PRESSURE groups are one manifestation of political and social organization in a democracy. It is through organized groups that individuals seek to obtain the ends that they desire, and it is with organized groups that their interests are oftenest identified. It is therefore not surprising that education in this country should feel some impact from pressure groups. The more significant and important the educational institutions become, the greater that impact will probably be.

The present chapter makes no pretension of presenting a fully rounded analysis of the development or functioning of pressure groups, even in their relation to higher education; nor should it be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the parallel problem of academic freedom. Both of these related subjects require exhaustive study, some of which is already going forward under various auspices; and far more remains to be done than has already been accomplished. Instead of striving to achieve inclusiveness of statement, the present chapter sketches somewhat broadly a few aspects of the problems of pressure action and academic freedom to provide, first, the basis for a prediction that these pressures are likely to increase in the immediate future; second, to provide a setting for one specific example of the dangers that confront higher education; third, to give a basis for generalization on the subject of professional organization; and, fourth, to establish the perspective for a statement of the importance of sound public relations if higher education is to achieve the independence that is essential for its survival.

Range of Pressures Felt by Higher Education . The range of pressures that may be felt by faculties and administrators in the colleges and universities is great. At one extreme are the attempts of individuals to influence the institutions or some parts of them for what may be regarded as personal purposes. Here is a legislator who wishes to do a favor for a constituent--a favor that pertains to some student at a publicly supported college. There is a trustee who has become concerned over some program that an educational department has launched or is about to launch, or who is sensitive to some remark

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