$7 billion dollar endowment. Board of Regents who are also CEOs and lawyers for top Fortune 500 companies. Downsizing, cutbacks, and the "bottom-line." Welcome to the University of Texas-Austin, University Inc., where big business is muscling in on education, student power, and worker's rights. What is lost in the transaction when education and commerce collide?
University Inc. (52min, 1999, Dir. Kyle Henry) deals with the closing of a student film program as a paradigm for interrogating the corporate ideology now guiding the nation's largest public university. The film also acts as an unofficial yearbook for 1997-98, detailing: the U.S. 5th Circuit Court's Hopwood decision, which effectively ended affirmative action in Texas; architectural changes in public spaces that micro-manage free speech; privatization, outsourcing and downsizing of the student union; the Kent State shootings as perhaps the catalyst for a university crackdown that has continued into the 90's; and the general apathetic and programmed nature of the student body today.
University Inc., developed from a segment on John Pierson's IFC cable show Split Screen, toured with Laura Dunn's The Subtext of a Yale Education to over 50 colleges and universities in North America from 1999-2003 as part of self-distribution effort called The McCollege Tour, sponsored in part by filmmakers Richard Linklater, Michael Moore, and the Austin Film Society production fund. Sites included: Yale, Harvard, Rice, Hampshire, UMASS-Amherst, Boston College, U of Arkansas, U of Oregon, Southern Oregon U, U of Colorado-Boulder, UC-Berkeley, U of Virginia, U of Nebraska-Omaha, U of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Texas - Austin.
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