The Rant & Rage: At least know what the hell you are talking about!

Students have taken to the streets and voiced their opposition to the idea of converting Oregon’s universities into independent public corporations.

Students have taken to the streets and voiced their opposition to the idea of converting Oregon’s universities into independent public corporations.


Good for you, students! Way to stand up for what you believe and against something you oppose.


At least, that is what I would say if any of you knew what the hell you were talking about.


Amid signs pleading to “keep public education public” and shouts of an angst-ridden mantra against the coming corporate takeover, it may be difficult for bystanders to realize that much of what was being said was well-formed yet total crap.


Yeah, there certainly was a lot of fervor and “stay strong” type cheers. But did anyone notice there wasn’t much said about the actual issue you were protesting? Perhaps because you don’t know what you are talking about.


Here’s the thing: There most certainly is a debate to be had. We need to fix Oregon’s funding problems. Maybe the Frohmayer Report will help us, or maybe it won’t. It warrants discussion. So why don’t we do that? Why don’t we have that discussion?


Maybe we would, if someone would actually offer up something that correlates to the issue at hand, and not some kind of fear-driven corporate takeover myth. That has nothing to do with the discussion.


Perhaps the biggest problem we are dealing with is that the Frohmayer report used the word “corporation.” Maybe he should have used the term “corporate model” or “government cooperative.” In our climate of mega-corporations high on greed and power, the word has taken on a negative context. Throw in the recent Supreme Court screw-up regarding the Citizens United case, and folks are pretty much ready to take up arms against the man.


But all that has nothing to do with the Frohmayer Report. All it suggests—it neither mandates nor orders, it merely suggests—is that we form a different model of funding for higher education in Oregon, one where the state government (the people, that is) still runs the universities. The state government would still partly fund education. In fact, the only difference is that the new system would have the ability to use outside sources of funding—which it already is forced to use—more effectively and respond to current concerns more quickly.


Honestly, did any of you even read the damn report? Did you miss the part where Dave Frohmayer defines what the thing is? For example, where it says that a public corporation for higher education “is formed for the public purpose of promoting the public welfare of the people,” or the part where it clearly states “The PCHE shall be a governmental entity performing governmental functions and exercising governmental powers.” Hmm, sound familiar? It should because it’s kind of what we already have. In fact, it is the complete opposite of what you are crying over.


The idea that some ass clowns from Citibank are going to come in and buy out our school is absurd, or to think that our school signs will read “Portland State University: a subsidiary of Walmart” is just ignorant.


I’m not saying that we should embrace the Frohmayer Report or the ideas it puts forth. I just think we should discuss it by starting off on the right foot, and not a misguided fist in the air. In general, we should discuss how to fix the mess that is Oregon’s system of higher education.


If our universities were being reformed into some sort of profit-driven machine, you all would see Dick Richards taking his rage to the streets. Instead, you will see it aimed at the Einsteins who prefer to bitch instead of educating themselves.