Universities, like people, are duplicitous and loathe having their duplicity exposed publicly. They therefore seek ways of obscuring the truth of their decline while also creating the impression of ever-increasing achievement. But how is this grand trompe-l’œil to be sustained? How can you cease to do, or at best do very badly, what you claim is the raison d’être of your institution — cultivating intelligence and learning — while still persuading people to pay you large sums of money for your services? Without putting too fine a point on it, you lie, obfuscate, and “redefine” your mandate so as to hide the truth of your institution.

January 23, 2016