You did read that correctly and if you have been keeping up with headlines across the pond it should come as no surprise.
Sir Howard Davies, head of the London School of Economics was sacked from his post last week after new news of LSE connections to Libya broke.
Already under fire for accepting a donation of 1.5 million pounds from Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, (former LSE student who allegedly plagiarized his thesis) Sir Howie was the latest global puppet sunk by the Wikileaks torpedo.
U.S. diplomats were told by Libya's "National Economic Development Board" that it was cooperating with "the UK government and the London School of Economics, among other UK institutions, on an exchange program to send 400 'future leaders' of Libya for leadership and management training."
Keep this in mind the next time you decide to trumpet the benefits of high brow educational institutions while tooting your patriotic horns, boys.
Everything's for sale as we already know...not the least of which are prestige and influence.
How acceptable is it in your own backyard? After all, Americans love to think we're impervious to certain ills...
How do you guys feel about the value of your diploma being diminished by administrative prostitution? Wait...maybe I'm wrong. After all, pimpin' ain't easy.
Hoyas For Sale
In another must read, eye popper Claire Berlinski brings the unpleasant conversation back to American shores.
Saudis and other Gulf regimes have poured breathtaking amounts of money into American universities and think tanks since the 1970s. The Saudis spend $4 billion per annum to promote a particular view of Islam. This exceeds the Soviet Union's budget for foreign subversion during the Cold War. A mind-boggling amount goes to funding America's top-tier universities, and of course this has an influence.
In 2005, Georgetown accepted a $20 million donation from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The same guy rejected by then NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani post-9/11.
So what... right?
Business as usual? Move along citizen? Nothing to see here?
What is the real value of a diploma?
I asked you guys about prep schools last week. Isn't this an interesting dash of spice to that discussion?
Is there more to an academic institution than test scores and the alumni network?
Does the gilded path really lead towards riches? Or is it actually... mo' money, mo' problems?
Self thread jack. Approved. R.I.P... B.I.G. March 9th. 14 years today. Moment of silence.
Damn, time flies...
Does it really do our profession a service that such a huge target has such a huge Petrodollar influence pumping through its veins?
Can a professed source of intellectual development be trusted to educate, when it's own ideological leanings wear a steady style for sale signs.
Is a brand new set of HD monitors or a top-of-the-line faculty lounge worth the price of foreign interest in our education?
Maybe I am being naive...
But I just cannot accept the notion that higher education should go to the highest bidder.
Remember these words the next time we elect another Harvard man into the White House...
NOTE: For those interested in a detailed work up of foreign fiscal influence in British higher academia, here's an in depth report. I am not sure I want to see the American version.