This seems like an overly obvious statement, but as this chart, published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, shows, one reason the universities act like corporations seeking profits and not democratic institutions serving the public good is that corporations, in effect, pay the salaries of many university presidents. The chart suggests that greed is endemic and that, even in education, money is a driving force.
In effect, universities are simply nodes in the interlocking directorates that knit together corporate power centers and that have helped to create the democratic and social stagnation reflected in the profound concentrations of wealth that have emerged in the U.S. in the last three or four decades. The public university system isn’t simply influenced by corporate culture, it’s an important part of corporate culture.
The last great academic myth is that the university is a bulwark against the market. In fact, the to the extent that education is a source of substantive cultural and economic power, the university is at the cutting edge of the dismantling of democratic culture. The university is a model of U.S. capitalism: workers are insecure and poorly paid, student/consumers pay more and are swamped in debt, and at the top, administrators get richer.