The professor game

Mandell, Richard D

In 1900 there were about 250,000 American university students. Today, the City University of New York alone has more than that number of students. And the CUNY system, the third largest university system in America, is but one--although the biggest-casualty of America's recently and badly eroded faith in higher education. This institution of more than 260,000 students and more than 15,000 professors on nineteen campuses is enduring massive retrench1nents. Besides the slovenliness of New York's financial management these past twenty years, a critical error, it appears, was the succumbing of CUNY's professors and administrators to the expansive euphoria that affected all planning of higher education in the 1960s. City College, New York's "Harvard of the Proletariat" and the other colleges of the system opened their doors to much larger numbers of applicants in order to provide blacks, Puerto Ricans, and others with free tuition and a try for a college degree. The great university would no longer have a student body made up overwhelmingly of the energetic, well-prepared descendants of East European Jews. Like colleges and universities all over North America, CUNY expanded old campuses, constructed new ones, and hired lots of professors to staff them. Now CUNY is contracting.

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