The Corporatization of Higher Education: Students or Customers? (2016)

Program: Gural Scholars
Class of: 2019

“If it’s inaccessible to the poor, it’s neither radical nor revolutionary.” For our project, we aim to interrogate the inconsistency of The New School’s financial policies and lack of transparency in relation to the vision, brand, and mission of the University as an institution that brands itself as a haven for social justice and civic engagement. In its vision, the University claims to value ‘social engagement,’ ambitiously desiring to orient the students’ academic experiences along the lines of becoming “critically engaged citizens dedicated to solving problems.” One problem we feel is imminent to address is the lack of student, faculty, and staff representation in administrative decisions that directly impact the University community. Given the current climate of discontent, we pose this question: are we students, or are we customers? Through this project, we learned that we can be critical of the larger world around us, yet the world specific to us requires the same degree of interrogation. As students at Lang, we recognize layers of tension between what our education at the University is said to be and what it actually manifests itself to be.