NYU president criticizes government

By Brenden Walz

The president of New York University said Thursday leaders of higher education and government should work together to deal with the important problems facing the United States of America.

“The Politics of Higher Education” was the theme of a speech given Nov. 7 by John Brademas, president of New York University, in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium.

Brademas criticized the federal government’s past actions with regard to higher education. He noted criticisms of higher education have come from the highest level of government, especially the Department of Education and the White House.

Brademas called President George Bush’s election pledge to be an education president an “empty one.” He added Bush’s new budget would remove 400,000 people from eligibility for financial aid rolls.

“The range of attitudes from government ranges from outright hostility to passive neglect,” Brademas said.

Money donated by individuals and foundations as gifts to higher education declined in the 1980’s by 17 percent. Brademas said many public and private universities depend on those donations.

Brademas criticized complaints by goverment officials about the higher education system, a practice he referred to as “college bashing.”

Some of the examples of college bashing Brademas mentioned included complaints about colleges and universities asking for too much money but delivering little in return, and the increase in bachelor’s degrees using irrelevant classes.

Brademas also addressed issues involving the Bush administration’s education policies.

Brademas said financial aid programs cost less than other federal programs, such as small business programs and that a substantial volume of the defaulted loans have gone to for-profit trade schools.

Brandemas criticized statements by an official in the Bush administration earlier this year who said minority specific scholarships were discriminatory.

He cited statistics that minorities made up only 1 percent of students who receive financial aid and only 3 percent of the minorities received such scholarships.

Brademas served for 22 years as a congressional representative from Indiana and worked on federal legislation on higher education, public financing of presidential campaigns and a 1974 bill to assure government ownership of former president Richard Nixon’s tapes and papers.