What are universities?

Note the date…

Up to now the universities have been the secular refuge of mediocrity,
the salary of ignorance, the safe hospital for all intellectual invalids and–
what is even worse–the place where all forms of tyranny and insensibility
found the chairs where they could be taught. The universities have thus
become faithful mirrors of these decadent societies which offer the sad
sight of a senile immobility. That is why science, facing these closed and
shuttered houses, remains silent or mutilated and grotesque, merely serves
bureaucracy. When in a fleeting period of liberalism the university opened
its doors to some loftier minds, it very soon repented and made the existence
of those minds within its walls impossible. That is why under such
regimes the dominant forces carry education towards mediocrity and that
is why the vital development of our universities is never the fruit of an
organic process, but only the result of revolutionary upsurges.

(from Student Power in Latin America: The Cordoba Manifesto 1918, (Transl & reprinted in Minerva, 1968))

Categories: Higher Education


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