Colleges: ‘The Public Be Damned’

“In the 1880s, railroad magnate William Vanderbilt, when asked about possible negative public reaction to his company’s policy regarding express trains, purportedly said: “the public be damned.” If a recent survey of more than 2,700 respondents by a Massachusetts-based think tank (Populace) accurately reflects current public opinion, that is how the American people think colleges and universities regard the general public—people to fleece for resources but otherwise ignore.

More specifically, with findings similar to some other polling, more than half (52%) of those surveyed think higher education “is headed in the wrong direction.” Only a small minority (20%) think it “is headed in the right direction” (the remainder had no definite opinion.)”