Eugene Weekly: “Shills and Knights”

The Knight Campus for Accelerating Impact deserves far more scrutiny in the context of the University of Oregon budget crisis. While other programs like the Labor Education and Research Center face disproportionate and debilitating cuts, the Knight Campus is slated for just a $4,000 reduction. 

The combined amount of the top three Knight Campus salaries are more than $1 million, and director Robert Guldberg alone makes $550,000 a year. Exorbitant executive salaries such as these demonstrate the need to “chop from the top” as the starting point for proposed cuts.

A public event in April with Guldberg glossed over the aspects of his research that reinforce the corporatization of public education. The university administration’s mismanagement of money and the profit-driven motivations of Phil Knight’s contributions to the UO were also conveniently overlooked.

The most disappointing part of the “Knight” was that audience questions were funneled through one of President Michael Schill’s lackeys and a Knight Campus leader, leaving no space for attendees to ask real questions.

Guldberg performed “transparency” by disclosing some relationships with corporations but said nothing about why this could be problematic. Furthermore, questions about equity and the ethics of private funding were ignored.

The touted accelerated scientific impact of the Knight Campus translates to gentrification, corporatization and the development of healthcare that will be inaccessible to the majority of the people who make UO run. Above all, Knight Campus is designed to contribute to industry and serve as a gateway to profit for rich entrepreneurs.

Nikki Cox,