Reaffirmation of Principles & Commitment to Action
Since its launch in May 2011, the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) has worked to advance public policy and practice that provides affordable, quality higher education to all who seek it.
Some progress has been made in pushing back against reduced funding for and access to higher education in the name of austerity and accountability. For example, free public higher education is now part of the national discourse and has become embedded in the policies of more than one state.
Now, however, there is a president-elect who represents the narrowest and worst aspects of for-profit higher education and profiteering by not-for-profit public and private colleges and universities that charge students more and provide them less. From that perspective, and from Mr. Trump’s personal experience in the field, it is inferred that a university is simply a scheme for turning a profit, apparently through misleading marketing, among other means. That model has often proved to be bankrupt, financially, educationally, and morally.
Moreover, we have witnessed a significant rise in hateful acts around the country, both on and off campuses. These acts express the darkest aspects of systemic racism, misogyny, homophobia, and fascistic nationalism that are resurgent in our society. The perpetrators of these acts have been emboldened by the words, policy proposals, and election of Donald Trump and his campaign’s systematically hateful and exclusionary discourse.
Thus, as we approach renewal of a policy regime nationally that is hostile not only to the democratic possibilities of not-for-profit higher education but also to academic science, independent research, and scholarly discussion and critique, the CFHE reaffirms its original seven principles.
In addition to that, the CFHE will continue to defend public higher education, as well as continue to defend and advance the broader democratic values it embodies on college campuses and in the communities in which they are situated. We pledge to:
(a) act to support, define, and affirm our college communities in
the most inclusive ways possible;
(b) play an educative role in working through difficult conversations to move us toward some measure of respect for the diversity that is who we are; and
© provide progressive, forward-looking democratic alternatives to our present and impending path.