The University of Anaximander (informally Anaximander University or simply Anax) is a public university located mainly on Anax One, an artificial satellite orbiting Anaximander. It was founded in 2883 by Ramirez al-Mualim, the designer of the first functional postech spike drive, making it the oldest university in continuous operation in Sector Asgard Sigma.
The University has several smaller campuses on the surface of Anaximander, including the prestigious Al-Mualim institute for Engineering on the outskirts of Anaxir City, but the bulk of its facilities, including administration, the university parliament, student accomodation, as well as 61 out of its 72 constituent colleges are located on Anax One, one of the largest artificial satellites in the sector. The main campus is also home to Anax One Interstellar Spaceport, a convention centre, several hostels and a hotel, as well as a wide array of shopping facilities.
Anax One has also become famous throughout the sector for its vibrant nightlife and rich cultural life, being home to a number of theatres, pubs, night clubs, conventions, festivals and political rallies. The legendary ProgRock night club The Docks is located on the satellite and has seen the beginnings of some of the most popular bands of the sector, including The Drifting Asteroids, Radiant Amber and Dethro Dull.
Ethos and founding principlesEdit
Anaximander University attracts students from all over the sector and is Asgard Sigma's biggest university outside of the Hoveydan Planetary University, with an academic staff of 24,300 and over 110,000 people currently enrolled in its various colleges. While it is mostly publicly funded by the Anaximandan government, the University has since its beginnings had a strong cosmopolitan and interstellar ethos in accordance with al-Mualim's founding principles and has thus specifically tried to attract interstellar academics and students from all sentient species.
To enshrine this ethos and ensure the continued independence of the University from political pressures, Anax One has been declared an incorporated territory to the planet since 3096, effectively granting it control over much of its internal affairs. While Anaximandan law technically still applies on Anax One, much of it is unenforced. This includes some laws regarding research on artificial intelligence, sentient cloning, body augmentation, as well as libel and censorship and, possibly most notoriously, the use of many recreational drugs.
While this practice has occasionally put the University in the spotlight of heated debate over the ethics of some of its research, it has also helped firmly establish it as a centre of academic excellence and productivity and has contributed to its reputation of independent and unbiased research and teaching.
History and economic impactEdit
The University's funding is continuously the largest factor in the budget of the Anaximandan government. Additionally, subsidies to Anax One's infrastructure and facilities, as well as the lack of tuition fees put Anaximander into enourmous debt and have meant a huge drain on the small planet's ressources in the first century after its founding. While Anaximander had historically been a wealthy planet after al-Mualim's re-invention of the spike drive, the idealistic but costly project had thus become controversial by the early 31st century. After funding was cut substantially as a result of domestic political pressures, the University was under threat of being closed entirely due to a sharp drop in student numbers and reputation in the early 3020s. In a referendum in 3022 Anaximander's citizens narrowly voted for a continuation of the project under increased involvement of the interstellar community, as well as, controversially, the private sector.
Support turned out to be massive and as a result of donations, funding from the private sector and financial commitments by numerous interstellar governments the continued existence of the University was secured. Anax One was comissioned in an effort to solidify the University's status as an interstellar project and efforts were made to gradually increase the satellite's independence from the planet, including its eventual status as incorporated territory with a limited amount of self-governance.
Today, the University is Anaximander's largest employer by far, with an academic staff of 24,300. Anax One is a popular tourist destination and an interstellar hub for academic conferences, conventions, festivals and interstellar political meetings. While the University continues to be a costly endeavor for the Anaximandan government, economists generally agree that today much of the cost is mitigated by revenue from tourism taxes and the Anaximandan patent office, as well as a highly skilled, productive workforce. Unemployment has been near 0.1% for the last 100 years and income inequality is among the lowest in the sector, with a negligible fraction of the population living under the poverty line.
As a result, the public funding and dedication to free access to knowledge are largely uncontroversial on the planet by now. Conservative MP Bony Haggot argued: "Yes, the University costs the government a lot of money. But in return Anaximander enjoys an excellent reputation in the sector. Our output in technological innovations, ideas, literature, music, entertainment exceeds that of any planet of comparable size by lightyears. Its return of investment, plain and simple. Its easy to be proud of our planet these days."