|1.||What is academia?|
|2.||What is the role of faculty and students in the university?|
|3.||Are universities run according to democratic principles or are they autocratic institutions?|
|4.||Can the university be transformed so that it serves the community in which it exists?|
Conservatives believe that universities do not exist in a vacuum. They are part of American life. Professors have a predilection to see themselves as intellectual elites while both college faculty and students tend to look down on other less educated people. Conservatives maintain that this elite stance of the university population is not right, but at the same time education does make some people more knowledgeable than others.
Conservatives see the university and industry working together to better American life. The underlying assumption is that academic experts must aid industry in developing new techniques and products. According to this analysis, there is or ought to be a close relationship between the university and the world outside the university. For example, science faculties should work together with government to develop space technology or new weapons systems. Political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, and economists should work together with the military in developing counter-insurgency techniques for the conduct of any future wars. Psychologists should work with prison authorities in helping the latter rehabilitate and control inmates. If academics do not work with and support the government, then it is questionable whether universities should be supported by government funds. For conservatives, the university should accept its role as maintainer of the status quo and be proud of it. They do not understand why some professors and students are unwilling to accept their defined place in American society as they see it.1
Some liberals think that academics must engage in "objective" research in their laboratories and libraries and that the university campus should be an independent center of thought, beholden to no outsiders. While research should be engaged in for its own sake, researchers should not be held responsible for the uses others may make of their findings. Publication of scientific results must be freely and openly available to all. Academicians have the responsibility to publish whatever they have learned.
Other liberals believe that faculty should be socially and politically aware and should translate that awareness to their students. Teachers have great power over shaping the minds of their students; therefore it is their responsibility to make students conscious of issues such as racism, sexism, and discrimination against the aged. Professors should not confine their lectures to facts and theories from a textbook; they should encourage their students to participate in the real world. For instance, to