The recent conflict of interest "scandal" at the U of C has prompted some thought as to the expectations and obligations of Academia, or University.

First of all, while I acknowledge the real world need and pressure of funding, this could be better addressed by raising corporate taxes and passing the proceeds along to the educational institutions in need. This is the purpose of taxation, to support those institutions that society values. By keeping corporate taxes low (a longstanding strategy of the Conservatives), and allowing the corporations to build their "brand" through selective donations to institutions that are willing to "partner" with them we remove all autonomy from Universities and Academia.

This diminishes the value of the Education received. Universities are not trade schools, or institutes of technology, they serve as well functions in research, in publishing, in advising government, and other roles, but their paramount objective should be to educate - without bias, and free of political, corporate, and religious interference. We would probably agree that fundamentalist Christian college would teach evolution and biology different that a standard university, it should not be hard, then, to understand that a University sponsored by oil and gas might not delve as deeply as it should into the environmental/social/political ramifications of the industry.

Education, as in University, in it's purest sense is not done strictly with the purpose of employing it's pupils upon release. Education is about learning to think critically, to relate to people from different backgrounds, to learning both generally and specifically about different areas of the arts and science. That you leave with an education and are more employable as a result should be the happy by-product of an opened, disciplined and trained mind.

It is both the peoples and the governments job to fund education, that we've so devalued the institution that it must go a-begging to corporate sponsors is tragic. We've a new government. We can fix this.