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New book renews debate about donor influence

Nov 3, 2018 by

New book outlines how rich donors have become more assertive about how their money should be used and explores the costs to higher ed.

By Marjorie Valbrun –

A new book about Nike Inc. and company founder Phil Knight has renewed debate about the corrosive influence of big donors on higher ed and the serious consequences of the unchecked power the author says is wielded by rich benefactors.

The book, University of Nike: How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education (Melville House) by journalist Joshua Hunt, is a searing indictment of how corporations in general, and Nike in particular, have compromised the integrity and independence of college administrators, especially presidents of public institutions operating with decreased state funding.

The book also argues that Nike founder Knight used his wealth to shape university policies and practices at the expense of students, faculty and even taxpayers.

A large part of the book is focused on what the author describes as Knight’s officious and sometimes bullying behavior as the University of Oregon’s top donor. The book also delves to a lesser extent into Nike’s actions at other colleges and universities to which the company or Knight donated money, or with whom Nike did business.

Source: New book renews debate about donor influence

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