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更新时间:2016-3-24 10:55:21 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Donald Trump Isn’t Alone in Exploiting the Word ‘University’

Eleven years ago, Donald J. Trump linked his name to one of the older get-rich-quick ventures in the book: the real estate seminar. Enticed by the promise of their own quick riches in a then-hot real estate market, students gathered in hotel conference rooms for free introductory classes where instructors offered special knowledge and financing — but only if students signed up for additional, increasingly expensive classes.

11年前,唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)将自己的名字与一个有着较长历史的快速致富项目联系到一起:房地产研讨班。学生们希望进入当时火热的房地产市场迅速致富,在这种诱惑下,他们聚集在酒店的会议室,参加免费的入门课程,讲师教授专业知识,提供资金,但前提是学生们要报名参加其他越来越昂贵的课程。

Broken dreams and lawsuits predictably followed.


Variations on this theme have been around for decades, and this one would have been mostly forgotten, except for two things: Mr. Trump decided to run for president, and his real estate seminar was called Trump University. In this, Mr. Trump was getting in on another tried-and-true American hustle, one that continues to be run by for-profit and nonprofit schools alike: appropriating and exploiting the word “university.”

数十年来,这个主题有了各种变异版本,这个项目本来也会基本上被人遗忘,但有两件事情使之变得突出:特朗普决定竞选总统,他的房地产研讨班被称为特朗普大学(Trump University)。特朗普采用了另一个在美国行之有效的赚钱伎俩,营利性及非营利性学校仍在这么做:擅用、利用“大学”这个词。

Although Mr. Trump used phrases like “adjunct professor” and “business school” in his promotional video, Trump University was not a university. It was not accredited, it did not grant traditional diplomas, its credits did not transfer, and students could not pay for it with government financial aid. The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, eventually forced Trump University to stop calling itself a university, so that new customers would be slightly less confused. It was renamed Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.

虽然特朗普在宣传片中使用了“兼职教授”、“商业学校”等说法,特朗普大学不是一所大学。该学校没有获得授权,不能授予传统的文凭,学分不可以转出,学生不能使用政府财政资助支付学费。纽约州总检察长埃里克·T·施耐德曼(Eric T. Schneiderman)最终迫使特朗普大学停止称自己为大学,因此新顾客不会那么困惑。学校被重新命名为特朗普创业者计划(Trump Entrepreneur Initiative)。

Yet the practice of applying the term “university” to organizations that are not universities or only slightly resemble them has a long history. The University of Phoenix was originally the Institute for Professional Development. The for-profit DeVry Technical Institute, originally DeForest Training School, became DeVry University. The same conversion happened at Grand Canyon College, Strayer College and Kaplan College — today, for-profit universities all.

很早就有这种用“大学”称呼那些根本不是大学或与大学稍有类似的机构的做法。菲利克斯大学(University of Phoenix)起初叫做职业发展学院(Institute for Professional Development)。营利性学校德锐技术学院(DeVry Technical Institute)最初名为德弗利斯特培训学校(DeForest Training School),现在又变成了德锐大学(DeVry University)。营利性院校大峡谷学院(Grand Canyon College)、斯特雷尔学院( Strayer College)和卡普兰学院(Kaplan College)也经历了这个过程。

Elevating colleges into universities is also widespread among traditional public and nonprofit institutions. In the 19th century, states created hundreds of “normal schools” to train women to become public schoolteachers. Most are still in business today, and still prepare most new teachers. But nearly all have followed the same path of naming inflation: from normal school to teachers college to college to university. If you see a public university with a compass point or city designation in its name — Northern State University at Anytown — there’s a good chance it was once a normal school.


These institutions are not overtly trying to rip off anyone. But nor do they tend to have the full features we associate with universities: multiple schools and departments with a heavy focus on research, scholarship and training new Ph.Ds. Instead, they are mostly what they used to be called and have always been: colleges, with a few small master’s degree programs added in order to edge over the unofficial university line.


Even two-year schools are getting into the act. In 1993, Utah Valley Community College — formerly Central Utah Vocational School — dropped the “community” by adding a bachelor’s program. Inevitably, the “college” was switched out for “university” in 2008. Last year, Utah Valley University granted 1,996 two-year associate’s degrees, compared with only 58 master’s degrees in two small business and education programs, in addition to a single one in nursing. But by the any-little-bit-counts rule of higher education nomenclature, it has the same university designation as the most august research institutions in the land.

即便是两年制的学校也在这么干。1993年,犹他谷社区学院(Utah Valley Community College)——之前名为犹他州中部职业学校(Central Utah Vocational School )——通过增加一个学士专业去掉了“社区”一词。“学院”最终在2008年变成了“大学”。去年,犹他谷大学(Utah Valley University)授予了1996人两年制的副学士学位。相比之下,仅有58人被授予了两个小型商科和教育专业的硕士学位,除此之外还有一人获得护理学位。然而,在高校命名方面,再小的改变都是有价值的,而根据这一规则,它拥有的“大学”名称与全美最值得尊敬的研究机构一模一样。

All of this creates exploitable confusion among prospective students, who have been taught by schooling and popular culture to trust any place called a university. In my own neighborhood of Arlington, Va., there is a storefront sign advertising “California University” next to a soon-to-be-renovated mall.

这给那些未来的学生带来了可以被人利用的困惑,学校及流行文化都教育他们去相信任何称为“大学”的地方。在弗吉尼亚州阿灵顿我生活的社区,一家即将整修的购物中心隔壁挂着为“加利福尼亚大学”(California University)宣传的标牌。

Is it a branch campus of the world-renowned University of California? No. It’s part of a tiny, wholly unrelated business and computer school whose other office is in Anaheim. Across the street and up the block, however, there’s a branch of George Washington University, which really is a university. Pity those who can’t tell the difference. In fact, this area is the Cambridge of inflated school names: No fewer than six other institutions of higher learning line this short stretch of Wilson Boulevard: Argosy University, Troy University, Strayer University, the University of Technology and Management, Grantham University and the Art Institute of Washington.

这是世界名校加州大学的分校吗?不。这是一个完全与之无关的微型商科与计算机学校的一部分,而学校的其他办公室位于阿纳海姆。但街对面的街区有乔治·华盛顿大学(George Washington University)的一座分校,这是一所货真价实的大学。那些搞不清区别的人实在值得同情。实际上,这片地区像是一座大本营,充斥着使用自我抬升的名称的学校:威尔逊大道上这短短的一段路,坐落的高等教育机构不少于六家,分别是阿尔格西大学(Argosy University)、特洛伊大学(Troy University)、斯特雷尔大学、技术与管理大学(University of Technology and Management)、格兰瑟姆大学(Grantham University)和华盛顿艺术学院(Art Institute of Washington)。

While a few institutions like Dartmouth College have resisted the temptation to be known as what they are not, most have eagerly embraced it. Mr. Trump deserves to be criticized for selling real estate seminars that didn’t deliver promised riches. But in exploiting the word university, he is in good company.

虽然达特茅斯学院(Dartmouth College)等少数研究院校拒绝了自我抬升的诱惑,但大多数学校急切地接受了这种做法。特朗普理应因为推销无法兑现致富承诺的房地产研讨班而受到批评。但在利用“大学”这个词方面,他绝不孤单。