From The American Interest,
Former Bush administration official Mark Schneider and policy researcher Jorge Klor de Alva make a coherent case for this in the Washington Post:
Taxpayers, for the most part, unknowingly support private institutions primarily through tax deductions and exemptions. For example, gifts to university endowments are tax deductible and the earnings on these endowments are exempt from taxation, as are the endowments themselves. For elite private institutions, those with endowments in the billions of dollars, the size of these tax breaks can dwarf the direct subsidies that taxpayers send to public institutions.
These tax breaks are rarely debated because they are hidden in the tax code. Meanwhile affluent private universities, claiming their importance to the realization of the American dream, do everything in their power to silence any questioning of their right to enrich themselves through favorable tax treatment. However, it is important to remember that these tax breaks are not divinely ordained. More.
Reality check: It would almost be fun watching the junior jackboots roll cars in order to defend the academic freedom they actually despise. But does anyone need them to have an education, if they are just going on to be Orwell’s Outer Party anyway? Maybe the arts programs at most universities are obsolete and irrelevant now, and shutting them down would not impact culture.
See also: UK students demand the exclusion of Plato and Aristotle