WHO ABANDONED WHOM?  Remaking the University offers a perspective on the academic positional arms race.
Much of the public is no longer willing to pay for the service-university, where so much of that service is clearly going not to their children or grandchildren or neighbors children but to the usual suspects at the top of a society whose growing inequality has led to their own economic decline.  It could be an entirely different story for the development-university, one centered on the academic development of all of its students, undergrad and grad, through teaching and research alike.
That sounds like the old land grant model, something different from a subprime party school or an open-admissions, content-free college light.  The problem, though, is in using tax dollars to support a service that might not be available to all a state's residents.

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