Just started reading a fascinating little book by James Woods, How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization
, about the early days of science and universities.
Opened it at random and immediately hit this passage:A glance at the history of the medieval university reveals that conflicts between the university and the people or governments of the town were not uncommon. On one hand the university was a boon for local merchants and for economic activity in general, since the students brought money to spend, but on the other, university students coud be irresponsible and unruly.
This hasn't changed at all in 800 years! Hate the students, love their money: remains true from 1207 AD to 2007 AD!In 1231 Pope Gregory IX issued the bull 'Parens Scientiarum' on behalf of the university at Paris. ... In this document, the Pope tried to establish a just and peaceful environment for the university by granting a privilege known as 'cessatio', the right to suspend lectures and go on a general strike if its members were abused. Causes for such a strike included refusal to fix ceiling prices for lodgings, an injury or mutilation of a student for which suitable satisfaction had not been given, or the unlawful imprisonment of a student.
Having lived much of my adult life in college towns, I can appreciate the 'ceiling price for lodgings'!
Far more important, note the last phrase. Compare with Duke University's response when its students were unlawfully imprisoned by Kidnapper Nifong. Instead of declaring a 'cessatio', Duke aided and abetted Kidnapper Nifong by expelling the students and cancelling the entire Lacrosse team.
Maybe it's time to let the Church take the universities back from government. The Church has certainly done a better job with K-12 education, as every competent big-city parent knows only too well.