Every time just before the new semester begins, students sigh heavily at the daunting list of school expenses. There is tuition, books, school supplies and we cannot forget about the outrageous on-campus living expenses such as dorms and the meal plan. All of this adds up, but we only accept such overcharges because we know we will receive a wonderful higher education taught by professionals in our field of choice, teaching us objectively through critical thinking and intelligent insight.
But, what if North Carolina college students were being lied to on all of these accounts? Sadly, we are, but knowing this will enlighten students about the ongoing war on higher education, and the seamless way we are receiving each of the battle’s backlash.
Director Steve Mims newest movie “Starving the Beast” takes a look at the expansive problem choking the United States’ higher education system. Specifically, this movie showcases how wealthy capitalists are altering our education into a company-ran organization, in which knowledge is a product being sold by professors to us consumers, or students.
Mims’ introduces this unrelenting phenomenon by detailing examples that all students face such as the rising cost for tuition, the never-ending college debt, the lack of full-time professors and the unsubstantial funding for each student. Starving the Beast” reveals this survival-of-the-fittest agenda being placed on students, forcing those unable to pay up to leave the college system. This weeding out of students is already revealing stark realities for poor families living in America that only want a way out of their situation, but are kept rooted in their unfavorable conditions.
What makes this movie more intriguing are the interviews with professors, and other scholars well-researched on this swindling of higher education. One of the many interviewees, Gene Nichol a professor of law at UNC-Chapel Hill and a principal faculty member of the UNC system, is hosting a discussion at the end of the screening. This should grant the audience time to ask questions and share remarks about the movie.
This opportunity is greatly anticipated because Professor Nichol has been publicly outspoken in opposition to this phenomenon. He has written about and been quoted in articles discussing his distaste for North Carolina’s government officials, especially that of past NC governor Pat McCrory. As quoted in the weekly journal, The Nation, Nichol said, “If only the wealthiest, and the whitest come to UNC-Chapel Hill all the better. That doesn’t trouble them at all”. In this quote he is referring to the escalating numbers of poverty-stricken minorities in North Carolina, unable to compete for a placement in the school with its ever-increasing tuition.
This highly acclaimed movie is co-sponsored by the UNCG Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, UNCG Faculty Senate, UNCG Graduate Student Association, and the UNCG Network and Consortium. Doors open at 6 p.m., and admission is free for faculty and students, with donations being accepted by the door. At 7:30 p.m. Professor Nichol will open the floor for questions and answers.
If this intrusion on higher education by wealthy capitalists claims your interest, I’d suggest you to take your time to go see “Starving the Beast”. Many students and outsiders of the educational system are unfamiliar with the reasoning behind these skyrocketed tuition rates and less well-qualified professors teaching university classes. However, this movie and discussion should be able to answer your questions about this commodity-based education. If I can’t make this movie sound crucial enough to watch than maybe the Huffington Post will: “No film exposes the coordinated assault on public higher education that is going on right now across the country.”