The dispute between Athabasca University and the Alberta government has been resolved for now with the university agreeing to increase its on-site staff count in the town of Athabasca by 30. But this is just one instance of a greater interest in government exercising more control over universities, and universities (sometimes) pushing back. It's not just the extreme case of Florida governor Ron DeSantis taking over a university. Less obviously, it's the Ontario government running value for money audits on four smaller universities. In an example of pushback, Alex Usher reports on faculty at Memorial University demanding via strike action to "fully participate in the university... institutional systems of peer review and decision-making processes". There are no easy answers here - universities definitely don't help make their own case, but they do need to be publicly funded in order to be accessible to the wider community, though the excesses of elected officials shows how important it is to have an independent system.
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