If You Take Taxpayer Money, You Have To Listen To The Taxpayers

planned_parenthood

Certain members of North Dakota’s university system, and some of their apologists, are throwing a screaming fit over the politically-motivated decision by NDSU President Dean Bresciani to freeze federal grant funds from Obamacare intended for a sex education program. Bresciani, whose promise (given his character, or more accurately lack there of) will no doubt last about as long as the legislative session does, was simply responding to fact. The legislature doesn’t want these funds, and the legislature governs the state.

You see, North Dakota is a democracy, and North Dakotans (by and through their elected leaders) have decided that’s how it ought to be. NDSU, along with the 10 other institutions of higher education in the state’s university system, are government-created and taxpayer-funded organizations. They exist to serve the state.

But North Dakota’s higher education elite don’t want to be restrained by mere democracy. They have academic freedom! At least, that seems to be the message from an outraged Jane Ahlin in the Fargo Forum who writes that NDSU got “rolled” by the “right-wingers” in the state.

If Ahlin is suggesting that NDSU got governed by some of the people who we elect to govern state institutions, then yes she’s right. It’s that whole “will of the people” thing. Personally, I’m just fine with sex education that includes messages about contraception. It doesn’t bother me, though I’m a bit saddened by those who carry on as though “how babies are made” were a subject ripe for ground-breaking “research.”

We really are a nation in decline.

But I digress. Planned Parenthood is a despicable and extremely left-wing organization, and the state has no business partnering with the organization in any fashion. Our universities should not be centers of indoctrination under the guise of “academic freedom.”

If the faculty at NDSU want pure “academic freedom” they should join we “right wingers” in our efforts to privatize the university system. Without the taxpayers involved, the pointy heads at NDSU would be free to put as many condoms on bananas as they wish. Of course, without huge taxpayer subsidies, the faculty at NDSU might no longer be able to cash in their six-figure paychecks.

And that’s the rub.

NDSU wants the taxpayers to subsidize them, but then they want the taxpayers to shut up when it comes to how the universities conduct themselves. That’s why the university system, and its apologists, are endlessly talking about the importance of the “independence” of higher education. They want our money, but they don’t want to have to listen to us.

Great deal for them. Not such a great deal for the taxpayers. So maybe it’s time for a divorce.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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