Documentary, discussion on public university donors, influence set Feb. 16

starving-the-beastThe documentary “Starving the Beast: The Battle to Disrupt and Reform America’s Public Universities” will screen at Western Carolina University on Thursday, Feb. 16, followed by a panel discussion after the film.

The free, open-to-the-public event will begin at 4 p.m. in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.

“The documentary details the role that ideologically driven private money interests play in shaping contemporary public higher education in the United States and the way that the influence of this money has worked to shift the view of, access to and focus of public higher education,” said Laura Wright, WCU professor of English, who is organizing the event.

The panel discussion will be led by Gene Nichol and Ralph Wilson. Nichol is the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his scholarly work is supported by the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund. Wilson is an activist and co-founder of the UnKoch My Campus organization, which works against what it views are undue influences wielded by big money donors to public institutions. Other panelists are David McCord, WCU psychology professor and former chair of the Faculty Senate, and Wright.

The event is receiving support from the university’s Visiting Scholar Program. For more information, contact Wright at or 828-227-3927.