Investment Or Influence

1756 Words8 Pages
Joe Van Horn WRIT 1301 10/31/2010 Investment or Influence? What’s the difference between funding and purchasing? According to Jennifer L. Croissant, when it comes to corporate grants to universities, there is little difference. In her essay, “Can This Campus be Bought?” she raises questions about what is lost when unchecked corporate money is used to fund an institution of higher learning. Primarily she remarks on reduced freedom of expression and freedom of choice that unrestricted corporate influence can cause. In truth, however, the impacts, such as limited choice and encroachments on the freedom of teachers to teach what they like, are not as negative as Ms. Croissant implies. Because her own personal experience shows many examples of the problems with corporate ties gone too far, Ms. Croissant describes the situation at her own university, the University of Arizona. According to her, the school signed a contract with Pepsi in 1998 that lead to a price increase in on campus stores on Pepsi, and reduced variety of choice at the university. This complaint is viable and displays one of the clear drawbacks of a corporate-university relationship (81). Limiting consumers’ choice in any instance puts them at a disadvantage, because if they are unable to purchase anything but products produced by one company, that company has significant control over the prices it can charge due to the creation of an inelastic demand curve. This is a prime example of the waning freedom of choice that Ms. Croissant criticizes in her essay. Along these lines comes the identity-forming process that students go through during their collegiate years. Young people tend to form much of their identity during that first taste of freedom they get during their time in college. Ms. Croissant notes the trouble caused by strong corporate involvement on campus in her essay, writing that,
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