Why has public higher education been a topic of political debate in recent years? And how have these debates affected American public universities? A powerful new documentary addresses these questions. It will be shown in a free screening on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30 p.m. at the Art Theater Co-op in downtown Champaign (126 W. Church St.).

Starving the Beast tells the story of a potent one-two punch roiling public higher education right now: 35 years of systematic defunding and a well financed market oriented reform effort. It’s the story of a little known and misunderstood ideological fight, the outcome of which will change the future of public higher education.

The film reveals an historic philosophical shift that reframes public higher education as a “value proposition” to be borne by the student as a consumer, rather than an investment in citizens as a “public good.” Financial winners and losers emerge in a struggle poised to profoundly change public higher education.

The screening is sponsored by three organizations: the Campus Faculty Association, the American Association of University Professors (UIUC Chapter), and the Graduate Employees Organization. A panel discussion will follow the screening.