Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) compared efforts to regulate the for-profit college industry to the Holocaust during a speech Tuesday. Speaking at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Foxx invoked a famous Holocaust maxim in order to defend for-profit colleges against increased scrutiny. “They came for the for-profits, and I didn’t speak up,” the North Carolina congresswoman said.
Insider Higher Ed has the details:
In criticizing the private college presidents, Representative Virginia Foxx, the North Carolina Republican who leads the subcommittee on higher education, adapted the famous statement from the German theologian Martin Niemöller on Germans who ignored Nazi persecution. (“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.”)
“’They came for the for-profits, and I didn’t speak up…’” Foxx said. “Nobody really spoke up like they should have.”
Even if her choice of words is shocking, her willingness to stand up for the industry is of little surprise. Foxx is heavily-financed by the for-profit college industry. As the Center for Responsive Politics reported, “In her first year on the [Higher Education and Workforce Training] subcommittee, Foxx picked up at least $48,668 from PACs or individuals affiliated with for-profit colleges.”
Though Foxx is readily willing to advocate on behalf of an industry that saddles students with debt and leaves them with few employment prospects, she paradoxically dislikes people who take out student loans. Said Foxx on a radio show last year, “I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that.” In fact, many of the students with such large amounts of debt can trace their troubles to the fact that largely unregulated for-profit colleges are extraordinarily expensive.
Foxx is no back-bencher in the GOP caucus. She was elected to her party’s leadership last year to serve as Secretary for the House Republican Conference and has been touted as a possible Senate candidate in 2014.