Education, healthcare, clean air and water, housing, food, electricity, and emergency services are a few examples of required items to live. That's precisely why we can never leave the provision of these services up to the private sector, which wants profit and not much else. No matter what our bank statements may say, no matter where we live, no matter how old we are, we will always need these resources to survive.
One of the reasons our government exists is to provide our citizens with a supply of these resources. What happens when Republicans, libertarians, and Tea Partiers join forces to slash all the spending and drown government in the bathtub? Things get desperate and psychotic.
The most sadistic example is Enron laughing it up when it gouged Grandma Millie and other customers to drive up profit. Another nasty effect is that budget cuts force colleges and universities to get in bed with raping bedfellows. The University of Virginia (UVA) and Bill Cosby rape scandals and the direct connection to higher education's desperate reliance on donations are the best examples.
When the Cosby rape allegations resurfaced in mid-October via Hannibal Burress, the higher education institutions that had long-been beneficiaries of his cash and fame were slow to act. By Thanksgiving, UMass Amherst severed ties. Berklee College Of Music, High Point University, and Temple University finally did the same. Although Cosby's rape allegations had been around for at least three decades (including one civil suit), not one of these higher education institutions moved to disassociate themselves until the scandal became full blown last month.
UVA faces a similar problem with being associated with accused rapists. According the moving Rolling Stone article, sexual assault on campus had been well-known and widespread. It goes back at least 30 years ago. In addition to preserving prestige and Thomas Jefferson's "legacy," UVA had been struggling with donations due to government making cutbacks to higher education.
It's a hell of a lot easier to expel a student for cheating than rape. Cheating only directly harms one person, it's not a felony, it's not required to get into a fraternity, and it's not on the same emotionally traumatic level that sexual assault is. Addressing cheating is part of UVA's essence; the honor code is one of the things it's nationally known for. There is a sign in every UVA classroom that mentions it.
Sexual assault is a completely different beast. Being known as rape university risks vital tuition and present and future donor dollars as well as bad press and a terrible reputation. Sexual assault is a much bigger problem at UVA, and addressing it will take much more than a sanctimonious honor code. (The irony is, however, if UVA and other educational institutions could demonstrate that they have a proven record of effectively dealing with sexual assault and accused rapists, they would attract more serious applicants and donors. Proving you don't sweep rape under the carpet makes for a safer campus.)
At the very least, steady funding from state and federal governments would allow every college and university to be a lot quicker to not only address sexual assault but break free of famous, powerful, and wealthy individuals who can hold anyone or anything hostage.
Yes, colleges and universities are partially to blame for the fiscal mess they've gotten themselves into. The price of tuition skyrocketed in the last 30 years without increasing the value of a degree. Regardless of their funding status, the administrations still have and have always had an obligation to prioritize student safety over the precious tuition dollars and a potentially smeared reputation.
Given that colleges and universities can no longer rely on steady public funding, they're gaming the system to keep themselves in business so much so they allowing known sexual predators to stay on campus. If government kept steadily funding higher education — complete with a mandate to keep tuition costs low, reasonable, and directly proportionate to the value of education — then places like Temple University and UVA wouldn't have to act so cowardly and cagey about being associated with accused sexual predators.
But at least the beast is starved. Fuck women's safety and everything else, right?