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North Carolina Universities: ‘Where the Money Goes, So Goes Ayn Rand’

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Ayn Rand is out there causing all sorts of trouble again, as we learned by way of Archinect, as told in this story in The Charlotte Observer, “Donor Gave, and UNCC Winced.” In a fairly bizarre tale, John Allison, a banker in North Carolina, who went to UNCC, has been criss-crossing the state, donating millions of dollars to universities, but with one stipulation: Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” has to become required reading, thus entering the pro-industrialist and “creators should live only for themselves” book back into popular conversation (in North Carolina at least). With talk of the requirement spreading like wildfire, controversy has spread, and everyone’s pretty upset. Here’s a bit:

UNCC received its $1 million gift pledge in 2005, but details about the “Atlas Shrugged” requirement came to light as the school dedicated an Ayn Rand reading room March 12.

“It’s going to make us look like a rinky-dink university,” UNCC religious studies professor Richard Cohen said Thursday after UNCC Chancellor Phil Dubois told the faculty council about the gift. “It’s like teaching the Bible as a requirement.”

Dubois, who learned of the book requirement this month, says it was ill-advised. He may ask Allison to reconsider it, he told faculty.

This question comes from that first paragraph: What in the world do you do at the “Ayn Rand reading room”? Is it now just a habitat for the first person who showed up the day it opened, who locked the doors and yells at people to go away?

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