The Grave of Academe?

The article about Charles J. Sykes’ book, “ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education” unfairly portrays Sykes as the bearer of bad news (“A Muckraker’s View of the Privileges of Academic Life” by Larry Gordon, March 7).

I am 19 and a sophomore at the American University in Washington. My school recently raised its tuition between 7% and 9%, thus making it necessary for me to take a year off to earn money to return to college.

While Donna Shalala, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin’s Madison campus, may believe that “the task of research universities is to train scholars as well as teach undergraduates,” it is in the interest of future college students that I point out a quite opposing opinion.

The average tuition of an East Coast university is $20,000, excluding any extras: books, air fare, clothing, food, etc. A university makes out a budget every year and somehow the tuition manages to get hiked up 7% to 9% annually, but the school overall stays the same. If the public believes that its extra dollars are going to benefit the students, think again. Research universities rely heavily on those increases, so as to say that we, the parents and students, are paying more for what we think is a better education, when in reality we’re funding the pockets of the university’s administrators and researchers. Clearly, Sykes is justified in saying that our universities’ educational system is on a rapid decline.



Sherman Oaks