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Universities are institutions of higher education and research, which grant academic degrees in a variety of subjects. Each university is, in effect, a corporation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education. The word university is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning "community of teachers and scholars".

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  • Enter by this gateway and seek the way of honor, the light of truth, the will to work for men.
    • Edwin Anderson Alderman, inscription on the archway at the entrance to the medical college, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; reported in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).


  • The university, in a society ruled by public opinion, was to have been an island of intellectual freedom where all views were investigated without restriction. … But by consenting to play an active or “positive,” a participatory role in society, the university has become inundated and saturated with the backflow of society’s “problems.” Preoccupied with questions of Health, Sex, Race, War, academics make their reputations and their fortunes. … Any proposed reforms of liberal education which might bring the university into conflict with the whole of the U.S.A. are unthinkable. Increasingly, the people “inside” are identical in their appetites and motives with the people “outside” the university.
  • By making social hierarchies and the reproduction of these hierarchies appear based upon the hierarchy of ‘gifts’, merits, or skill established and ratified by its sanctions, or, in a word, by converting social hierarchies into academic hierarchies, the educational system fulfils a function of legitimation which is more and more necessary to the perpetuation of the ‘social order’ as the evolution of the power relationship between classes tends more completely to exclude the imposition of a hierarchy based upon the crude and ruthless affirmation of the power relationship.
    • Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (1973), p. 84
  • You send your kids off to college. They love you. You walk away with a Cornell mom T-shirt. You are walking away going this is great, and come Thanksgiving, your kid tells you that you are an imperialist and a racist and a homophobe. That is not worth $120,000.


  • Fellows of colleges in the universities are in one sense the recipients of alms, because they receive funds which originally were of an eleemosynary character.
    • John Duke Coleridge, C.J., Harrison v. Carter (1876), L. R. 2 Com. PI. D. 36: Reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 242.
  • "I didn't get the point", said Pig. "That's because you've got four pounds of provolone where most people got brains!", Mark shouted, shaking his fist. "This is college, you dumb bastard. This is a place where you're supposed to argue and learn and get pissed off. You don't go around choking your buddies just because they don't happen to believe what you believe."
  • My interest in Kipnis’s book was sparked initially by my own history. I was one of a small group of women who fought to bring in a sexual harassment code at my college in the late 1980s, and what I remember is how badly we felt it was needed, and how much resistance there was to the idea that clever people could also be in the habit of pinching bums, or worse. But I am also the product of a student-lecturer relationship: my brother and I, and two of our sisters, would not exist if my father had not twice married those that he taught. I’m sure my father’s behaviour was, knowing both him and the times (I am the eldest, and I was born in 1969), sometimes reprehensible. No doubt he would, and would be expected to, behave differently now. Nevertheless, it seems completely mad to me to try to outlaw relationships between what are, after all, consenting adults. Where else are people expected to meet, if not in the places where they spend most of their time? Imagine if it was decreed that theatre directors could not sleep with actors, that editors were forbidden from having affairs with writers, and that junior teachers were not allowed to fall in love with more senior staff. The very idea is absurd.
  • I should have all manner of tenderness for the right of the College; they are nurseries of Religion and Learning, and therefore all donations for increase and augmentation of their revenue are to be liberally expounded.
    • William Cowper, 1st Earl Cowper, L.C., Devit v. College of Dublin (1720). Gilbert Eq. Ca. 248: Reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 242.


  • A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. The library is the university.
    • Shelby Foote quoted in: North Carolina Libraries, Vol. 51-54 (1993), p. 162



  • One of the characteristics of the university is that it is made up of professors who train professors, or professionals training professionals. Education was this no longer directed toward people who were to be educated with a view to become fully developed human beings, but to specialists, in other that they might learn how to train other specialists. This is the danger of “Scholasticism,” that philosophical tendency which began to be sketched at the end of antiquity, developed in the Middle Ages, and whose presence is still recognizable in philosophy today.
    • Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, trans. Michael Chase (1995), p. 270.
  • College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity—embodied in politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—succeeded for decades. These elites, many from East Coast Ivy League schools, spoke the language of values—civility, inclusivity, a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle class—while thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their corporate masters. This game has ended.


  • Transforming hereditary privilege into ‘merit,’ the existing system of educational selection, with the Big Three [Harvard, Princeton, and Yale] as its capstone, provides the appearance if not the substance of equality of opportunity. In so doing, it legitimates the established order as one that rewards ability over the prerogatives of birth. The problem with a ‘meritocracy,’ then, is not only that its ideals are routinely violated (though that is true), but also that it veils the power relations beneath it. For the definition of ‘merit,’ including the one that now prevails in America’s leading universities, always bears the imprint of the distribution of power in the larger society. Those who are able to define ‘merit’ will almost invariably possess more of it, and those with greater resources—cultural, economic and social—will generally be able to ensure that the educational system will deem their children more meritorious.
    • Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Houghton Mifflin: 2005), pp. 549-550
  • Two universities have been founded in this country, amply endowed and furnished with professors in the different sciences; and I should be sorry that those who have been educated at either of them should undervalue the benefits of such an education.
    • Lord Kenyon, C.J., King v. The College of Physicians (1797), 7 T. R. 288: Reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 242.


  • Consider what it means for an institution to designate all of its faculty members as “mandatory reporters of sexual assault.” The policy effectively demands that every faculty member disclose the details of any student account of a sexual assault, whether it has been expressed in a course assignment, a classroom discussion, or a private conversation. Faculty will be required to make the disclosure to campus officials, even if the student has expressly indicated a desire not to file an official complaint. These requirements will have a chilling effect on students’ willingness to talk about difficult experiences with anyone on campus, even those experiences that may have nothing to do with sexual violence.
To override a college student’s wishes in the matter of reporting suspected sexual violence is especially problematic, since sexual violence can be a particularly insidious kind of coercion, undermining a victim’s sense of control over the most personal details of human experience. Colleges should not be in the business of further wresting a student’s control over those details. Moreover, since most victims of sexual violence are women we must reject any policy that makes us complicit in cultural institutions and practices that tend to discourage young women from speaking in their own voices.


  • No hardworking student should be stuck in the red. We’ve already reduced student loan payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s income. And that's good. But now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college. (Applause.) Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year.


  • And the people in the houses
    All went to the university
    Where they were put in boxes
    And they came out all the same


  • Nothing is more certain than that whatever has to court public favor for its support will sooner or later be prostituted to utilitarian ends. The educational institutions of the United States afford a striking demonstration of this truth. Virtually without exception, liberal education, that is to say, education centered about ideas and ideals, has fared best in those institutions which draw their income from private sources. They have been able … to insist that education be not entirely a means for breadwinning. This means that they have been relatively free to promote pure knowledge and the training of the mind. … In state institutions, always at the mercy of elected bodies and of the public generally, and under obligation to show practical fruits for their expenditure of money, the movement toward specialism and vocationalism has been irresistible. They have never been able to say that they will do what they will with their own because their own is not private. It seems fair to say that the opposite of the private is the prostitute.
  • I shall be as tender of the privileges of the University of Oxford as any man living, having the greatest veneration for that learned body.
    • Willes, L.C.J., Welles v. Trahern (1740), Willes' Rep. 241: Reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 242.


  • When we see a woman bartering beauty for gold, we look upon such a one as no other than a common prostitute; but she who rewards the passion of some worthy youth with it, gains at the same time our approbation and esteem. It is the very same with philosophy: he who sets it forth for public sale, to be disposed of to the highest bidder, is a sophist, a public prostitute.
  • To offer one’s beauty for money to all comers is called prostitution. … So is it with wisdom. Those who offer it to all comers for money are known as sophists, prostitutors of wisdom.

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