Want a million bucks, read Atlas Shurgged

A businessman gave $28MM to various colleges with the requirement that they teach a class and include Ayn Rand material. Of course some of the professors, as they are wont to do, objected. The term academic freedom was tossed about. Some schools even rejected the money. A million bucks, or allowing students to read Ayn Rand and compare that work with other authors. <a href= "http://www.charlotte.com/115/story/548877.html">See the amazing report by Pam Kelley and Christina Rexrode, staff writers at the Charlotte Observer.</a>


"Allowing" students to read Ayn Rand?
It seems more like the schools were being asked to "require" students to read Ayn Rand. Not the same thing.

They class was not a required class, but an elective; thus the use of the term allowing.

I don't see anywhere in the article that the course had to be exclusively about Rand, exclude other content, or be required to complete a degree. It seems reasonable to me that in exchange for a substantial donation a class could include a certain book as long as it was not a required class.

How selfish of someone to want to put conditions on their largess.

I've read Ayn Rand, including Atlas Shrugged, it seemed a bit silly to me, and it was certainly not a page-turner. It is as thick as the phone book so unless Cliff comes out with notes for it I doubt many undergraduates will read it. Heck I doubt many undergraduates can read :)

I've only ever read The Fountainhead (no, not for myself, I was trying to impress a girl by reading something without pictures), so I'm not an expert on Ayn's beliefs, but wouldn't taking the money and *not* honoring the agreement support her philosophy?

then you could have a sign made: "this $1 million plaque honors the works of Ayn Rand" and hang it wherever you want.

That is a brilliant idea. After all they are serving their own intrests.

Take the sign out of the bathroom and hang it somewhere prominent when the guy from BB&T drops in for a visit - just to be polite and keep the cash coming in.

The horrors -- you ask a foundation for money and then complain when there are requirements in order to fulfill the deal. How horrible for someone other than an academic to want a particular book read -- it could poison a mind.....

It's such a shame that poor, poor academics have to get their fingers dirty touching anything that speaks of capitalism positively. Poor academics shouldn't have to keep promises -- they should just get money. Academics are good and business people are bad.

Thank God, libraries are so pure and good and pass such great judgement on a book or author that has found an audience. After all, librarians are smarter and purer than business people or anyone who mucks around in capitalism.

Capitalism is quite well established in higher education. Asking academics to espouse a "philosophy" if they don't agree with said philosophy is problematic. If they agree with it, fine. If they can be critical of it, fine. If they can't be critical of it, then that's a problem. I'm sure that Rand's books are just fine in the libraries of those institutions.

There are plenty of supporters of capitalism who aren't supporters of Rand.

They guy wants to give money if the college will include Rand's book in their class. If professors don't teach critical thinking skills, if they don't present more than one side of a theory or opinion they are doing a disservice to their students.

It seems to me from my journey through higher education that there are some professors that do a good job, and some that attempt to indoctrinate students. I'd much prefer the former, even if I disagree with most of what they say.

Honesty is the best policy in academia, as everywhere else. Make the students in the elective class read Rand, but not just Rand.

Subscribe to Comments for "Want a million bucks, read Atlas Shurgged"