College Presidents Shocked To Discover People View Their Institutions As Elitist

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

College presidents are shocked to discover that people view their institutions as elitist, according to a batch of interviews released Tuesday.

Private schools like Yale University and public institutions like the University of Washington commented on the phenomenon while speaking with Politico.

“It’s not enough anymore to just say, ‘trust us,'” said Peter Salovey, president of Yale. “There is an attempt to build a narrative of colleges and universities as out of touch and not politically diverse, and I think…we have a responsibility to counter that — both in actions and in how we present ourselves.”

“If you go back 15 years, I think universities were held — not where the military is, but pretty much just below that,” said David Leebron, Rice University president. “Now, we’ve fallen a lot. I think it’s a very challenging time where we can’t just go out in the world and say, ‘We’re an esteemed institution’ and people will credit what we’re saying.”

University presidents are seeking out speaking events and outlets in which they can publish op-eds to try to change their reputation, reported Politico. But they also allege that they have not received praise for boosting financial aid.

“You’re at the point where even basic science is being questioned,” said Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington. “It’s hard not to say there’s some purposeful attempt to distort and diminish the value of higher education — and that’s concerning.”

Cauce reported writing recently to every Washington state high school principal to alert them that low-income students can typically attend her school for free.

While 72 percent of self-identified Democrats have a positive view of colleges, only 36 percent of Republicans had a similar opinion. (RELATED: Majority Of Republicans Think Higher Education Is Bad For America)


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