The multiversity is an inconsistent institution. It is not one community but several - the community of the undergraduate and the community of the graduate; the community of the humanist, the community of the social scientist, and the community of the scientist; the communities of the professional schools; the community of the nonacademic personnel; the community of the administrators. Its edges are fuzzy - it reaches out to alumni, legislators, farmers, businessmen, who are all related to one or more of these internal communities. As an institution, it looks far into the past and far into the future, and is often at odds with the present. It serves society almost slavishly - a society it also criticizes, sometimes unmercifully. Devoted to equality of opportunity, it is itself a class society. A community, like the medieval communities of masters and students, should have common interests; in the multiversity, they are quite varied, even conflicting. A community should have a soul, a single animating principle; the multiversity has several - some of them quite good, although there is much debate on which souls really deserve salvation.
13 September 2011
From Clark Kerr's 1968 The Uses of the University -