NPR Morning Edition
May 22, 2000

..... SMITH: Indeed, one BU business school professor, who asked to remain nameless, worries that the e-business center will subtly pressure faculty to find students who have profitable businesses and, quote, "place bets on them." Adam Menzel is a student at nearby Brandeis University and also an Internet entrepreneur. He says he would have loved the access to the venture capital that BU students are getting, but he says he would resent it if his school took any kind of commission for such a favor.

Mr. ADAM MENZEL (Brandeis Student): For a school who's supposed to support their students, who's supposed to, you know, nurture and help their students grow in their futures, it seems to me that to be taking a percentage of a referral for venture capital is to say that the students were trying to milk you for everything you have right now. You know, 'We're trying to get our cut.' Well, you can't.

SMITH: Instead, Menzel says universities should offer students all the help they can and down the line they will be rewarded by successful alumni. But universities are hungry for new ways to boost their endowment, and

Harvard law Professor Charles Nesson from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society says schools are no longer willing to sit back and wait a decade or two for gifts to come in from generous alumni.

Professor CHARLES NESSON (Berkman Center for Internet and Society): It is inevitable. And it's a very big movement now. The whole march of the dot-corn world is one that I think has left universities feeling that they're either going to catch the wave or get rolled over by it.

SMITH: Still, Nesson says what Boston University is doing could be a lot worse. While the university does stand to profit from student businesses, it has kept at least an arm's length between professors and profits. BU alum and donor Michael Bronner says Boston University's program ensures that faculty cannot personally benefit from companies run by their students......

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