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In 2010 the author of this chapter was accused of "conspiracy theory" for exposing the University of California's (UC)'s long-term strategy to pledge revenues from higher enrollments and tuition increases for general purpose bonds to fund construction outside its core educational mission. Even after UC's financial strategy was documented online, the university denied that this explained its conduct during the financial crisis. The chapter shows how and why such deniability was part of its strategy. At stake is the conversion of the university’s mission from education to finance, which explains the explosion of student debt in recent years. The chapter also considers the political and personal effects of being accused of conspiracy theory in a moment of unannounced financial restructuring of higher education.

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