The modern American university is embroiled in controversy, fueled by deep uncertainty over its pedagogical purposes and its civic role in a "free" society. At times the college establishment seems to know neither what a free society is not what the educational requisites of freedom might look like. Nonetheless, both administrators and their critics have kept busy, for like zealots (classically defined as people who redouble their efforts when they have forgotten their aims), they have covered their confusion by embellishing their hyperbole. They wring hands and rue the social crises of higher education... apathy, cynicism, careerism, prejudice, selfishness, sexism, opportunism, complacency, and substance abuse, but they hesitate when faced with hard decisions, and prefer to follow rather than challenge the national mood.
Barber, Benjamin R., "The Civic Mission of the University" (1989). Civic Engagement. 32.