Ovetz Dissertation

Robert Frank Ovetz


Entrepreneurialization, Resistance and the Crisis of the Universities:
A Case Study of the University of Texas at Austin


Approved by
Dissertation Committee: Ovetz Dissertation Committee


Entrepreneurialization, Resistance and the Crisis of the Universities:
A Case Study of the University of Texas at Austin


Robert Frank Ovetz, B.A., M.A.

Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin
in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy

The University of Texas at Austin

December 1996



Both Karen Palazzini and Tim Dunn, although he won't be around Austin to see this dissertation completed and turned in, gave me the support and inspiration to stick with my project and pursue my Ph.D. Without their support I would never had made it this far.

Over the past nine years my life as has swung back around as if following the spirals of a spring, if not to where I began then definitely still in sight of my starting point. Nine years ago, newly on my own, I enrolled in Professor Les Kurtz's "Nuclear Threat" course because I wanted to learn about something immediately relevant to my life that I was not getting in my required courses. Little did I realize until much later that this one course provided me with my original inspiration to do something about not only the world but this university. A few years ago I returned to Les to in desperation to seek his help as the chair of my dissertation committee, shocked to find that although we had only exchanged passing "hellos" in the halls over the years, he remembered me from that class - something you don't find very often at UT-Austin especially in a class of more than 100 people. Since then Les has given me the friendship, support, advice, insight, push and editing needed to complete the dissertation. Many thanks also to Professors Christine Williams, Anne Kane, David Montejano and Doug Foley for their encouragement and support as members of my dissertation committee, and to Doug Kellner for getting me out of a jam. Finally, I offer a gentle bow to Harry Cleaver for being my teacher, inspiration and friend.

Last but not least, I want to thank you for not only reading this but hopefully putting this information to use to transform or dismantle the universities as we know them.


Entrepreneurialization, Resistance and the Crisis of the Universities:
A Case Study of the University of Texas at Austin

Publication No. _________________

Robert Frank Ovetz, Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Austin, 1995

Supervisor: Lester Kurtz


Entrepreneurialization, the process by which universities are being restructured as overt profit-making multinational businesses, capitalizes upon the rationalization, industrialization and militarization of higher education. This case study focuses on the early stages of the entrepreneurialization of the University of Texas at Austin into a multinational corporation, a model for what is happening to universities throughout the US. This new stage of reorganization is a strategic response to the crisis of higher education in the US that resulted from the campus rebellions of the 1960-70s. While hardly complete, entrepreneurialization is in conflict with the "multiculturalism" movements, for example, that propose reforms that would further subordinate the universities to the needs and interests of diverse disempowered people. Entrepreneurialization has had an unintended side effect: as overt multinational businesses, we can better understand the central relationship of the universities in the international accumulation of capital and the importance of students in the class struggle. As the US model of entrepreneurialization spreads to universities in many other parts of the world as a result of global restructuring it also offers the possibility for fusing new transnational connections among student movements in different countries fighting common struggles.

The culmination of a unique development of "adversarial methods," this dissertation combines participant observation, journalistic investigative methods, archival research, Freedom of Information and Open Records requests, budgetary analyses, and social movement research and activism to investigate and analyze a newly emerging multinational institution.


Table of Contents

List of Tables xi
Introduction 1
Section I. Research Methodology 10
Chapter 1. Developing and Adversarial Methodology  
   Adversarial Methods: 11
      The Advantage of Adversarial Methods 18
      Adversarial Data Sources 22
      An Example of the Social Construction of Data by Adversarial Methods 25
   Comparative Case Studies 28
   Class Power and Methodology 30
Section II. Case Studies of Entrepreneurialization and Multiculturalism at UT-Austin 32
Chapter 2. A Case Study of Entrepreneurialization and Austerity at UT-Austin 32
   The Current Strategy: The Creation of an Unofficial Federal Policy 34
   University of Texas Inc. 43
      IC2 Meets DoD 43
      Texas Goes High Tech 46
      UT Inc. 48
      Entrepreneurialization and Austerity 52
      "We're Broke" and Other Complete Bullshit 55
      A Comparison of the Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts 57
      Reorganizing the Authority Structure 65
      Entrepreneurialization and Crisis 72
Chapter 3. Multiculturalism: Moving Beyond Resistance 75
   From "Ethnic Studies" to Multiculturalism 79
   The Struggle for Multiculturalism at UT 81
      The "Ethnic Studies" Movement 81
      The Struggle Over "Minority Recruitment" 84
      Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism at UT 95
         Anti-Racism 96
         PRIDE and ONDA 98
         The Struggle Widens 108
      Fighting for Institutionalism at the University Council 112
   The Counterattack Against Multiculturalism at UT 118
      E306: A Lot of Hype About Basic English 118
      The Hatchet Man 122
      Tejas: the (Un)Free Press 127
   Planning a Nationwide Counter-Movement 120
   Multiculturalism: Against Entrepreneurialization and for Our Needs 143
      Answering the Charges 157
      Which Way for Multiculturalism? 167
   Not the Conclusion 173
Section III. The University and Students in Capitalism 177
Chapter 4. A Theory of Entrepreneurialization of the Universities 177
   Inversion of Class Perspective 179
   The Industrialization of the Universities 183
   The Strategy of Entrepreneurialization 197
      Internal Reorganization 198
      Systematic Transformation 199
   Bracero Graduate Students 205
   Im-mobile Campuses 208
   Ivory Tower or Overt Business? 210
   Promoting Entrepreneurialization 217
   University Inc. 221
      Institutional Organization 222
      Resource Allocation 224
      Research and Teaching Agendas 225
   From Analysis to Resistance 226
Chapter 5. Marginal No More: Student Resistance to Entrepreneurialization as Class Conflict 229
   The Myth of Students as Middle Class 232
   Working But Not Workers 245
   Class Struggle in the Classroom: Students as Unwaged Workers and the University as a Social Factory 269
      A Class Analysis of Education 272
   Rethinking the Crisis of Higher Education 286
   Multiculturalism, Student Struggle and the Crisis: The Case of UT-Austin 295
Chapter 6. Conclusion: Turning Resistance into Rebellion 301
   Moving Beyond Resistance: The Greening of the University 302
   Carving Out Spaces at UT-Austin 310
   Rethinking Our Strategies 321
      Wages for Students as a Tactic 322
   Summing Up: Entrepreneurialization, Student Autonomy and Class Struggle 327
Bibliography 337


List of Tables

2.1 Gift Funded Endowments by College/School, 1985-86 to 1990-91 61
3.1 Changes in Minority Enrollments, UT-Austin, 1982, 1991 86
3.2 Changes in Minority Faculty, UT-Austin, 1982-83 and 1991-92 90
5.1 Frequency of Innovations (5 Year Moving Average) 252
5.2 Invention of University/Industry Linkage Models 253
5.3 Date of Invention or Early Prototype of University/Industry Linkage Models 254